Manhattan Parking Fee on Out-of-Towners Challenged

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal class action claims that Manhattan discriminates against out-of-towners by charging them an 8 percent tax to park in the borough’s garages while Manhattan residents can apply for an exemption.

     By charging the tax without limitation the city could raise up to $22 million, according to the complaint.
     The five named plaintiffs are residents of New Jersey, Long Island and Queens who commute to Manhattan and park their cars in garages at monthly rates. They pay 18.375 percent in state, city and borough taxes, while Manhattan residents with qualifying vehicles pay only 10.375 percent.
     Thousands of out-of-towners have paid the surcharge since Aug. 26, 2006, the class claims.
     The class seeks declaratory relief and an injunction to stop the discriminatory tax policies, which they say violate the commerce, privileges and immunities, and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.
     Named as defendants are the city and state of New York, former Govs. Eliot Spitzer and George Pataki, Gov. David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the current and former commissioners of the state finance department and the taxation and finance department.
     Lead counsel is Brian Bromberg.

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