Editorial: Spare Charities From MTA Mobility Tax

If you have been a long term reader of this blog, a topic I have wrote about on many different occasions was the report released by the “Ravitch Commission” back in 2008. The report contained multiple suggestions for creating dedicated revenue streams for the cash strapped MTA. One of the suggestions came in the form of a “Regional Mobility Tax” which I opined was nothing more than a “new corporate tax” that would do more harm than good in the long run.

This past Thursday, an editorial written by Michael Stoller appeared in the New York Daily News urging that charities be spared from the MTA Mobility Tax. Here is a brief sample of the editorial:

If you run a New York nonprofit today as I do, you’re between a rock and a hard place. Just when you exhale, having avoided layoffs in the worst economy in memory, your budget springs a new leak: an MTA payroll tax hike.

Yes, the tax drafted last year to help bail out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which imposed a 0.34% payroll tax on businesses in the region starting last September, applies to for-profit businesses and charities alike. And now, with a yawning budget gap, Gov. Paterson and the Legislature are considering hiking the tax further.

Why were New York’s nonprofits drafted to bail out the MTA? Why risk the jobs of hardworking home health aides, meals on wheels delivery people, job counselors and visiting nurses so their employers could meet new payroll tax obligations?

Beats me. This tax could not have come at a worse time for the city’s charitable community. Since the Great Recession began, more and more New Yorkers have turned to nonprofits – food banks, employment counselors, etc. – for assistance. Meanwhile, private donations and government funding sources are shrinking.

Targeting nonprofits to shore up the MTA is a strange, cruel form of recycling. Our budgets come from New Yorkers’ tax dollars. Giving us funds, then demanding some of them back back to patch holes in the MTA budget, simply creates new, wasteful administrative costs.

Click here for the complete editorial.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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