But Butcher questioned the rationale, saying the union interprets Internal Revenue Service rules in a way that treats the boot allowance as a nontaxable reimbursement rather than a bonus. She also said workers should get the full $100 at the time the allowance was issued so they could use that payment directly to buy gear. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! As city leaders focus on escalating bonus costs as a way to trim a nearly $300 million budget deficit, a spat over boot allowances shows how contentious and complicated the issue can be. Service Employees International Union Local 347 has filed an unfair employee relations practice allegation with the city’s Employee Relations Board, claiming officials broke the rules by deducting taxes from the boot allowance received by many workers March 1. The $100 payment – about $68 after taxes – goes to more than 5,000 blue-collar workers, said Julie Butcher, general manager of the union. “It may seem like a little thing to most people but not to the folks doing the work,” she said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 Butcher said the public is largely unaware that many city employees have to pay for their own tools and uniforms and only receive partial reimbursements in the form of bonuses. She added that many workers require expensive heavy boots for work in difficult and dangerous conditions. But City Controller Laura Chick said there has been no change in the boot allowance that workers receive. What has changed, she said, is that the city has begun deducting taxes on it when the once-a-year boot allowance check goes out rather than as part of the gross taxes the city has deducted all along. “It’s more noticeable this way to the employee,” Chick said. “But nothing changed in terms of the amount of taxes the employee is supposed to pay on the boot allowance.” City officials changed the process after consulting with tax experts who suggested that it was necessary to comply with the law, Chick said.