Bloomberg Backs FDNY 'Crash Tax'

Friday, December 10, 2010

Members of the FDNY Members of the FDNY (Al_HikesAZ/flickr)

Drivers who get into accidents may have to worry about a bill from the Fire Department.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, facing big deficits next fiscal year, is defending the FDNY’s plan to start charging drivers for its emergency response services next summer. The so-called “crash tax” would range from $365 to $490 dollars, depending on the severity of the crash. It wouldn’t matter who was at fault.

Speaking on his WOR Radio show on Friday, the mayor said it’s a better plan than having the FDNY close fire houses. He conceded that it’s a back-door tax, but he said the city needs the money.

The Bloomberg administration points to 55 cities that are already collecting the “crash tax,” including Toledo, Ohio and Schenectady, Utica and Troy, New York.

But David Snyder, with the American Insurance Association, said taxpayers think it’s double taxation for a fundamental government service. “The public reaction to this has been very negative in a number of states, including the state of Pennsylvania, who have prohibited local governments from doing what is being proposed here,” he said.

Robert Sinclair Jr., with AAA New York, said the "crash tax" is an outrageous idea. “Fire and ambulance service is a basic service provided by government that is covered in taxes, and the idea that they need some relief now, and that burden should fall on motorists, we think, is a bad one,” he said.

The new fee could go into effect as early as July. No city council approval is needed, but there will be a public hearing on January 14.



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Comments [2]

Rob from New Jersey

Have no Problem with tax if the tax is paid by the driver at FAULT!!! This will force drivers to be more careful....

Jan. 14 2011 05:20 PM

First, insurance representatives/spokespersons are NOT consumer advocates, they are in the business of protecting insurance industry profits, period. Second, basic service is fire protection and fire suppression. New Yorkers should not be subsidizing for negligent drivers or insurance investigations and insurance reporting. FACTS: According to the 2007 Insurance Information Institute, The State of New York is ranked the 4th highest premium rate in the US. New York residents pay $14.0 BILLION in vehicular Property and Casualty premiums per year. Nationally, the crash rate is 23 crashes per 1000 population; however, the State of New York’s crash rate is 20 crashes per 1000 population, which is 15% below the national average. The City of New York is one of the safest in the nation at only 16 crashes per 1000 population. This is 30% below the national average, yet NY drivers are tagged with a higher premium rate.

New York City experiences approximately 132,000 crashes per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. dollars in tax relief. If the fire department and the police department charged actual costs to ONLY the at-fault driver and their insurance it would equate to a total of $12.7 million dollars in relief. and exclusively paid by the insurance. This equates to a mere 0.2% of the $6 BILLION in premiums paid by New York City residents. The 0.2% is insignificant therefore would NOT cause a rate increase!

NY has a significant amount of transient traffic as well. The $12.7 million would not necessarily be collected from the insurance of New York residents, but from many out-of-State drivers, as well.

User fees make sense and are far more fair and fiscally responsible than our current system which allows insurance to collect premiums without reimbursement for services provided to their policyholder and themselves.

Dec. 15 2010 04:32 PM

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