It seems like the city may be trying to pass off a commuter tax as a "public safety" tax. According to an esteemed New Yorker, "a commuter tax is an extra tax that used to be levyed on people who worked in nyc but didn't live here- the idea was that people who work here use our public services during the day, but don't pay city taxes." Which seems to make sense, in Gothamist's mind, but we're not experts.
Bloomberg has been pro-commuter-tax (he needs money to run the city), Pataki has been anti-commuter-tax (lots of his constituents live outside the city)...Pataki even went as far to tell companies with lots of non-NYC residing employees to stop a letter in support of a commuter tax (the companies felt the tax wouldn't be too detrimental to the employees). So the public safety tax is being spun as what it takes to keep the city safe for people to live and work.
To tax or not to tax: Discuss.