Gov. Paterson’s “New Idea”

Yesterday evening, I blogged about Gov. Paterson’s feeling a MTA deal could be reached by next week. He made a suggestion to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith & Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The governor would not discuss what the suggestion was as he decided to be coy about it during a press conference in the Bronx yesterday. Jimmy Vielkind of Politicker NY has more in this report:

Speaking at an event this morning in the Bronx, David Paterson continued to be coy about his secret plan to provide money to bail out the M.T.A..

“I’d like for the leaders to get a chance to talk to their members about a suggestion I made to Speaker Silver and Senator Smith about what I think might actually be amenable to the members who are still uncomfortable with the legislation as it is,” Paterson said to reporters. “They are reviewing it with their members. If it passes muster, we’ll make sure you know about it soon enough and hopefully vote on it when we get back, and I would like the day to be Monday.”

That might be hard, given the abbreviated session.

Click here for the complete report.

However some light has been shed on what exactly that suggestion might have been. Jimmy’s report touched on it & so did tomorrow’s print edition report in the New York Times by William Neuman & Nicholas Confessore:

Seeking to break a stalemate on a rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Gov. David A. Paterson made a secret proposal this week to have the state give money to school districts to cover the cost of a new payroll tax, according to people briefed on the proposal.

They said that the school proposal was what Mr. Paterson was referring to on Wednesday when he said that he had a “new idea” to move the stalled authority bailout forward.

The governor has not said publicly what the new idea is. Officials said that he discussed it with the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Wednesday. The payroll tax would provide about $1.5 billion to the authority each year, but four suburban Senate Democrats have opposed it, in part because they said it would burden school districts, which would have to pay the tax.

Among their objections: local communities would have to raise already high property taxes so school districts would have the money to pay the payroll tax.

On Thursday, several people briefed on the governor’s idea said that he had proposed using state money to relieve the burden on school districts of the new tax, which would apply to all employers in the 12-county region served by the transportation authority. The people briefed on the governor’s proposal requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

One person briefed on the idea said that the relief would be available to schools in all 12 counties, including in New York City.

Click here for the complete report.

If this is truly Gov. Paterson’s “new idea”, I can’t say I am surprised it was not earth shattering. I have publicly stated my disapproval of every proposal that has come from Albany. This “new idea” from the governor does nothing to sway my opinion. I hope the proposal fails to pass as I know stop-gap measures are not the solution. Albany needs to get this 100% right as anything & I truly mean anything less will not get it done.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[…] I last blogged, Gov. Paterson had a “new idea” that would help the State Senate pass a funding package for the MTA. As we all read, the […]

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