From the Daily News:
City and state legislators may soon slam the brakes on the FDNY's controversial crash tax, the Daily News has learned.
The FDNY does not need the City Council's approval to charge as much as $490 for firefighters to respond to a wreck - but a chorus of officials are vowing to scuttle the practice before it starts.
"It's a terrible precedent," said state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), who will introduce a bill this month to block the tax. "This cracks open a door that if we don't close now, they'll kick open and start charging fees for 911 or garbage pickup."
Adams' legislation would require any agency planning a similar tax or fee to first receive the approval of the City Council.
The FDNY intends to charge at-fault drivers between $365 and $490 for any sort of car accident in hopes of raising about $1 million a year. The extra cash would do little to close the FDNY's nearly $60 million budget gap, and some lawmakers said the potential loss of public trust is not worth it.
Ten states ban similar fees, and representatives from AAA and several insurance companies roundly criticized the proposal.
"People already pay for this service through sales and income taxes," said Kristina Baldwin of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. "This fee is a hidden tax, a double tax."
FDNY officials argue that insurance companies will cover the new fees, but trade groups disagree. "Most insurers won't cover it, and even the few that do will raise premiums to pass the cost on to the driver," Baldwin said Friday at a public hearing on the tax.