The much maligned MTA Payroll Tax is back in the news again. The tax which was created in 2009 as part of a $2.3 billion state bailout for the transit agency has never been popular with masses. When it first debuted, many businesses & counties themselves rallied against it & even sued questioning the constitutionality of it.
Eventually the tax was amended to exclude public school districts & a small percentage of small businesses. However even with those changes, some state lawmakers from Long Island are not satisfied as they now want it to exclude community colleges. Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:
State lawmakers from Long Island on Tuesday announced legislation to exempt community colleges in Nassau and Suffolk from paying the MTA’s payroll tax.
At a morning news conference at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa), who drafted the bill, said it would save each of Long Island’s two community colleges about $400,000 a year in the MTA Payroll Mobility Tax.
Click here for the complete report.
I admit that I questioned how successful this tax would be. It was blatantly obvious that it would face resistance from those who don’t use mass transit or live in areas really served by the MTA. I could understand the concept of it seeming unfair for public school districts to be exempt while colleges are not. However let’s go with another angle here.
For starters, state lawmakers need to stop with the status quo talking points about how the agency continues to waste money, etc…. As if they have been paying attention over the last couple of years, the agency has publicly shared their strategies as to how they cut costs while trying to build up on is efficiency. The transparency has been there which is more than we can say about these same lawmakers.
So if you were to be given the exemption for community colleges, what are your ideas as to how that money would be replaced? Oh that is right, you don’t have any ideas as transit is not a priority of yours since most of your constituents drive. Well think long & hard about how much more disastrous traffic would be on the island if the LIRR had much less service or ceased to exist? I doubt one person out here wants to picture that scenario.
Here is a novel idea, come up with some strategies to replace the money that would be lost from exempting community colleges & only then should an exemption be considered. I won’t hold my breath………
xoxo Transit Blogger