Brickbat: Pay as You Don't Go


New York State Assemblyman Robert Carroll, D-Brooklyn, has introduced a bill that would impose a $3 surcharge on all packages delivered to New York City residents from online orders, excluding food and medicine. Carroll says the tax would generate $1 billion annually and the funds would be used to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA is looking at a $7.5 billion operating deficit this year, which is projected to grow to $16 billion by 2024.

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  1. Well it’s obvious the tax is far too low.

    1. Typical politicians, don’t know how to handle money. If you are 7.5 billion in the hole, 1 billion isn’t solving the problem. There needs to be a $22.50 tax per package.

      1. Don’t forget handling fees.

        1. Those bags of tax dollars won’t count themselves.

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  2. Good jobs for good New York City residents! All NON New York City residents are less deserving of good jobs, so TAX those bastards for stealing good jobs from good New York City residents! Tax the NON New York City residents, we’ll say, while we’re REALLY taxing those exact same New York City residents who want to buy products made by BAD, NON-New York City residents, who don’t DESERVE good jerbs!

    Isn’t this the exact same “bill of goods” sold to us by that Master Con Artist, know by some by a term of endearment, as “Der TrumpfenFuhrer”? Good jobs for Americans! The rest of the world? China especially? They are all sub-humans who need to be PUNISHED, just like NYC wants to punish the NON-New York City residents!!! Let’s cut off our noses, to spite our faces!

    1. I fail to understand why NYC even lets in goods that were produced elsewhere? Better yet, why not restrict Brooklynites to goods made in Brooklyn? And those in Queens, etc. etc.

      1. That’s the fatal but unrecognized (by residents) flaw of big cities. Not one can last more than a couple of days with even a moderate reduction in the delivery of food, water, and energy.

        Meanwhile, the rubes in flyover country might have some adjustments to make to live without major media, the stock market, and government leadership, but they would indeed live.

        1. I love being a rube. I’ve made certain we can survive for considerably more than a “few days” should SHTF in such a way as to derail things like food delivery and utilities.

          I wonder what the Rev would say about that.

        2. Delivery of food? You mean they have servants to pick the veg and slaughter the livestock? Yeah, I suppose that’s pretty high living but it’s probably a necessity since keeping livestock in apartment buildings is likely frowned upon by the other highfalutin folks living there.

      2. that plan should revive the Garment District at least

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  5. By all means, encourage these Team D politicians to institute their ideas in their localities. Let them live with the consequence of their misguided policies.

    1. Agreed. But at some point it drives them to flee to other locations. Then we have to live with the consequences.

      1. “Build the Wall!”

        aka Escape from New York.

      2. And, as we have discussed on Reason before, when they flee, they bring their insanity with them and start to build exactly the sort of mess they just ran away from.

  6. NYC gets a bigger track hoe so they can dig a deeper hole to throw more people’s money in.

  7. Look, just because you’re not riding the rails to pick up your Dockers doesn’t mean you’re off the hook paying for them.

  8. Another reason to not live or operate a business in NYC.

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  11. There’s just nothing that more taxes can’t fix.

    1. tax compliance?

      1. Have you not heard of interest and penalties?

  12. I’m assuming the rationale for this proposal is that too many people are buying stuff online rather than going out and shopping in-person, which results in fewer trips on mass transit and therefore less revenue to the MTA. Never mind that this “less revenue” to the MTA is a result of less usage of the MTA – presumably they would have to raise taxes to astronomical levels if nobody at all used the MTA. This is the same sort of shit math they use to explain why schools need more money when parents are bailing out on the public school system and homeschooling or sending their kids to private schools or charter schools. And I’m guessing that as fewer people are using the MTA, the MTA is planning on spending tens of billions of dollars expanding their service to provide more people the opportunity to not use their services.

    1. Kindof hard to shop in person when the government had ordered all the stores to close. They screw you coming and going in NY

    2. Assuming the rationale of politicians is an early sign of a brain tumor.

    3. Silly you. The purpose of the MTA is not transportation. The real purposes include fat paychecks, union support, campaign contributions, and government patronage. Do you want those to go away?

  13. Besides being a stupid idea might this be unconstitutional? I thought the Constitution outlawed duties on interstate commerce. Or do blue states get to ignore these petty rules?

    1. It isn’t a tax on imports. It is like a sales tax. It applies to all deliveries regardless of source.

  14. NYC shut all their businesses down, where else are people supposed to shop?

    I’ve got an idea – shut the subway down if you can’t pay for it.

    1. Where to shop? Easy: the State Store. (cue any stories and photos of “shopping” in the USSR)

      1. Well Bernie Sanders himself spent some time in the old USSR, and personally observed the bread lines; he said these were good because it meant people were getting food.

        Such naysayers hereabouts!

  15. And at least Charlie only had to come up with an extra nickel.

    1. …and his fate is still unlearned.

  16. Because you will, by God!, fund the pensions and inflated salaries of MTA members, whether you need mass transit or not!

    1. Well they’ve been doing that with public schools for over a hundred years.

  17. First off, ridership goes back up the moment the lockdowns are lifted, and back to normal once vaccinations roll out to everyone and people are no longer panicked.

    Why pay for transit that’s not transiting anyone?

    Next, privatize the damned thing. Okay, difficult since it operates in city owned land and stuff, so start off with market pricing. CATO has a bunch of papers on this. Charge the riders enough to pay for the system. Too harsh on the poor? Spend one percent of what you do now by giving passes to the poor. Also, congestion pricing, etc.

    Vote for Walter A. O’Brien and get Charlie off that MTA!

    1. Because once you start offering passes for the poor soon everyone is ‘poor’ – and you’re right back to the actual cost paid not covering operating costs.

      1. Price to riders has been subsidized by about 75% for half a century. Riders bring in only 25% of the cost of operating mass transit.

        Cities cover that cost because it’s worthwhile, because mass transit helps keep pollution down, reduces vehicle traffic, increases foot traffic which boosts store sales, increases sales tax revenue, increases interest in local real estate, attracts residents and businesses, and that boosts tourism.

        In essence, transit agencies usually run at deficits. They’re not broken. It’s by design.

        More importantly, because it’s by design, there’s no reason to raise a tax to cover it.

        So why create an amazon tax? To capture the sales tax lost by local businesses restricted by incompetent government through regulation and stupid executive orders.

    2. yeah, transit ridership will go back up. but the package tax is here to stay.

  18. Either he’s lying and it’s not all packages, or he’s a moron who thinks the state of New York has the authority to impose a package delivery surcharge on packages delivered by the United States Postal Service.

    1. It would be collected by the seller at the time of purchase for orders shipped to New York.

      1. And if out of state seller’s refuse to collect it?

        1. Then NYC will add a “Use Tax” on out of state purchases, like California has.

          1. Wisconsin technically has one of those too. AFIK, no one ever reports out of state purchases on the income tax returns and there is zero enforcement.

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  20. Hundreds of thousands (perhaps several million) covid infections were spread/contracted in MTA trains and buses during March (when the NY metro area experienced the deadliest covid outbreak).

    1. No, that turned out to be untrue. People got sick from friends and family.

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    1. Go apply to MTA; nice work, if you can get it.

  22. So the package tax will “generate” one billion dollars annually? So sort of a reverse stimulus, taking money out of people’s pockets? I’m not seeing “generate” in my thesaurus as a synonym for “steal”.

  23. If the MTA made the rides free and paid homeless people to ride all day, they could drastically lower the loss per passenger mile

    1. head

  24. Who pays the tax? Does the shipper have to collect the tax from the customer at the time the product is ordered?

    Could I avoid the tax by going to an Amazon drop box outside of the city?

    Does this tax apply to the 100s of thousands of packages stuck in postal facilities until Spring?

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