Ravitch Tax Plan Facing Resistance

As my readers know, I was not a fan of the payroll tax recommendation in the highly anticipated Ravitch Commission report. I outlined my reasons & will not rehash them again. The latest news on that front focused on the resistance towards the plan which has been building steadily of late especially from upstate regions. William Neuman talks about this in this report:

When Richard Ravitch revealed his financial rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in December, the harshest criticism focused on a proposal to place tolls on the East River and Harlem River Bridges.

That made the plan’s centerpiece, a proposed new tax on payrolls in the 12 counties served by the authority, seem painless by comparison.

But since then, resistance to the payroll tax, which would raise $1.5 billion a year, has been building, especially in areas farther from New York City with less access to mass transit.

And opposition is coming not just from businesses that would pay the tax but also from public officials worried about schools and health care. That is because the tax envisioned by Mr. Ravitch, 33 cents on every $100 in salaries and wages, would apply equally to private businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, including school districts.

All that complicates the prospects for the rescue plan, which is intended to put the authority on a stable financial footing. It calls for an 8 percent increase in fare revenues rather than the 23 percent increase that the authority has proposed, and it would head off a set of deep service cuts meant to help close a $1.2 billion deficit. It would also provide money for long-term construction and maintenance in coming years.

Yet, opposition to the tolls among legislators from the city and Long Island remains strong.

Rory I. Lancman, a Queens assemblyman, said that Mr. Ravitch received an earful about the tolls at a meeting with Assembly Democrats last month.

As an alternative, Mr. Lancman has suggested dropping the tolls from the plan and increasing the payroll tax, to 45 cents for every $100 of wages.

That would almost certainly spur greater resistance to the payroll tax.

Click here for the complete report.

Lets face it, this plan was flawed from the get go. Of all the proposals, this was by far the most ridiculous from a common sense standpoint especially factoring in past results. So it comes as no surprise that many were against it. The proposal made by Queens Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman would never pass as it would cost more than the one proposed. Why he even suggested it is something I am interesting in finding out.

I would not be surprised to hear the doom & gloom come out from some if this particular proposal does not pass. Whatever you do, don’t fall for that rhetoric. This proposal alone would not make a big difference for the MTA & would cause more harm than good in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the MTA needs funding or it will spiral out of control. The ramifications from that disaster occurring would be felt without question. However there are responsible ways to achieve proper funding & this payroll tax is not one of them.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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