Telecommuters, taxes and traffic

Technology is doing something transit planners have been unable to do for decades – get people out of their cars. Telecommuters, people working from home, now outnumber mass transit commuters in 27 of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, according to a new study by Reason Foundation. The summary of the report is here (PDF).

From a housing market point of view, more telecommuters means all of the above including more intellectual capital in the region, higher salaries and a potentially more stable local economy.  Heck, even the PEC supports telecommuting: And, he said, state officials should pass transit and telecommuting tax credits. ‘If we pass those tax credits in this session, you will immediately see traffic improvements,’ Miller said. ‘I guarantee it.'”

The localities that host the telecommuters benefit greatly:

Based on research from other private sector and public organization telecommuting experience, benefits to the employee are likely to include increased job satisfaction, reduced commuting time and transportation costs, diminished stress, improved quality of life, and improved family functioning. Societal contributions include environmental and energy conservation, less traffic congestion on area highways, reduced family stress, increased civic involvement in local communities, and improved economic development at local and regional levels.

Where are the negatives? Can this be likened to the argument that consumers should pay local state sales taxes on internet purchases, e.g. Amazon, et. al?

Why did it take governments so long to try and tax these employees?

The Charlottesville area has a high broadband saturation level, there are hotspots everywhere, the discussion of blanketing the area with wireless has been broached … what’s next?

Should our region try to court these telecommuters? Should we follow Nelson‘s lead?

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Recent government studies also underscore telecommuting’s favorable impact on transportation, energy, and environmental goals and the role played by the national information infrastructure (NII) in furthering these outcomes. (source)

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