Suffolk Wants To Join Nassau MTA Tax Lawsuit

The jockeying for positioning in the battle against the MTA Mobility Tax aka MTA Payroll Tax continues. As of last count a number of counties & towns have either filed their own or announce their desire to join lawsuits against the tax in terms of its potential constitutional legality.

Suffolk County is the latest to join in the fray as Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine unveiled legislation in which they would join their next door neighbor Nassau’s lawsuit against the MTA Mobility Tax. A report on has more:

Joined by several of his colleagues, Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine unveiled new legislation directing the county attorney to join Nassau County’s lawsuit against the MTA Payroll Tax.

In its lawsuit, Nassau County calls the payroll tax unconstitutional as it encroaches on the home rule powers of local governments and its implementation violated the state constitution.

Suffolk County is one of 12 counties that receive services from the MTA. In 2009, New York imposed a .33 percent payroll tax on all employers in those 12 counties to bail the MTA out of a $1.8 billion deficit.

As an employer in the MTA district, Suffolk County was forced to increase property taxes to pay its share of the MTA payroll tax. The cost to Suffolk taxpayers is more than $ 3 million per year.

A tax such as the payroll tax requires two-thirds vote in both houses of the state legislature. However, the assembly passed the legislation with just 60 percent, while the senate passed it by a mere one vote.

In addition, Article X of the state constitution prohibits the legislature from “accepting, authorizing, or imposing liability on the state for the debts” of public benefit corporations and Article VII, Section 6 states, “No appropriations shall be made except by separate bills each for as single object or purpose.” The same bill that authorized the payroll tax also authorized new drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration fees.

Taxes and fees generated by Suffolk residents to operate the MTA are now well in excess of half a billion dollars – or $349 for every man, woman, and child from Lloyd Harbor to Montauk.

“Public authorities are designed to be autonomous agencies, free from subsidization by the state,” said Legislator Romaine. “However, taxpayers spend billions propping up the MTA. This must end.”

Click here for the complete report.

This news is not surprising as my previous entry talked about Suffolk wanting to join the lawsuit. This report just makes it more official. This is shaping up to be a huge battle for the remainder of the year & probably foreseeable future. It is clear that this battle will be a hot button issue during the upcoming election cycle. So the entries about it are just starting….

xoxo Transit Blogger

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