Senate’s Latest MTA Proposal Is Floundering

As usual, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is having to deal with the dreaded foot in mouth disease. He seemed quite confident that the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate’s latest MTA funding proposal were at his disposal. When he first expressed this sentiment, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver immediately countered with the question of did it have enough votes to pass. As I noted a short time later, early word seemed to sort of lean towards that being the case although a rush of Republican support was not present.

The latest word shows that the proposal is floundering in Albany & the main culprit is the dreaded payroll tax. Some suburban Democrats continue to express their opposition to a payroll tax. If Malcolm can’t get all the Democrats to pass a bill, he would need some Republican votes to get it done. Unfortunately for him, some key Republicans have also continued to express their opposition to a payroll tax. William Neuman & Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times had more in this report:

The latest version of a rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority appeared on Tuesday to be just as difficult to pass as earlier ones, as a group of suburban Democratic state senators said they still opposed the regional payroll tax that is its centerpiece.

Without backing from every Democrat in the narrowly divided Senate, the plan will need Republican votes to pass — but Republican senators continued to withhold their support, saying they had been left out of talks on the rescue.

In one faintly hopeful sign, Gov. David A. Paterson met with two key Republican senators on Tuesday and discussed the need to bail out the transportation authority, which faces rapidly growing deficits.

But the Republicans appeared far from ready to help both the authority and their hapless Democratic colleagues in the Senate, who have been unable to deliver on promises that they would stave off deep transit service cuts and soften a steep rise in fares and tolls.

Click here for the complete report.

I can’t say that I am surprised at the opposition. When the payroll tax was first proposed in the Ravitch Commission report, I explained how it was a bad idea at the time & many clearly share that same sentiment & rightfully so. I don’t feel this plan will pass the Senate & I can’t say I would be upset if that is the case. I truly believe that a solution is necessary but not if it is going to be filled with stop-gap measures. Albany needs to get this right & for them to do so, this plan would have to be shot down. In the long run, it is clearly the right thing to do.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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