Democratic Congressional Candidate Mark Dunec greeted local commuters outside Richard Codey Arena on Northfield Avenue Friday to discuss his campaign and find out what people are concerned about.
Dunec, a business executive in Livingston, is running for Congress in the 11th Congressional District.
“I was at the Codey Arena this morning meeting people at the bus stop as they were boarding the Coach buses and listening to concerns,” Dunec said in a phone interview with Patch. “It was good.”
When asked what commuters shared with him as their greatest concern, Dunec stated the economy.
“It is predominantly the economy that people are worried about,” Dunec said. “They are concerned about the government shutdown and the economy as a whole.”
Another big concern Dunec heard about was the tax break for commuters.
“At least 15 people spoke about the tax break for commuters and how it was reduced recently,” Dunec said. “People are angry.”
The tax break for commuters dropped from $245 a month to $130 a month.
“The difference is $115 a month times 12 is $1,380, so $1,380 pre tax dollars for the year is lost for the people that have to commute to New York City,” Dunec said. “These people are paying big money to go on the community coach bus and the tax break saved a meaningful amount of money.”
Congress did not extend a 5-year-old public transportation tax benefit establishing parity between commuters using mass transit and those commuters who drive to work and pay to park in a garage, according to a report from NJ.com.
The report states that mass transit commuters were previously getting a tax break in the amount of $245 a month, the same as individuals who drove and parked in garages.
“The federal government put the tax break into place to encourage people to take mass transit to help the environment,” Dunec said. “This effects whoever is taking mass transit anywhere. By reducing that tax break, the commuters are losing a lot of money in the end.”
Dunec stated he would try to increase the tax break, as he is a “fiscally responsible” citizen.