Assemblyman Raia Leads The Charge
Assemblyman Raia and fellow Assembly members urge Majority to bring MTA tax repeal legislation to floor
June 22, 2011
Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) and members of the New York State Assembly held a press conference today calling on the Assembly Majority to bring legislation to the floor for an up-or-down vote that would repeal the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) payroll tax. The legislation, Assembly bill 8193A, was approved by the state Senate last week, and has strong support from pro-growth organizations including the Business Council of New York State and the National Federation of Independent Business. “With the end of session upon us, our priority is to bring relief to taxpayers, local governments, school districts and to bring jobs back to New York,” said Raia. “The MTA Payroll Tax is a job-killing mandate that needs to be repealed. We need to provide more opportunities to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote would send the signal that New York is open for business.” “This legislation needs to be brought to the floor for a vote, immediately,” said Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C-East Patchogue). “The MTA tax is a colossal failure. Time and again, my colleagues and I have proven that the MTA does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem. Millions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse have been discovered on an all-too frequent basis since this job-killing tax was passed. It is unconscionable to close this current session without repealing the payroll tax and allow the state to continue to bankrupt our businesses and taxpayers.” “The suburbs seek only fairness. This bill provides those who rarely use MTA services the relief they deserve. I think that’s why we have strong suburban, bi-partisan support for this legislation,” said Assemblyman George S. Latimer, the sponsor of the bill. The phase out would begin on January 1, 2012, by exempting small businesses of 25 employees or fewer, as well as public and non-public schools. The tax would be fully phased out by January 1, 2014, for the seven suburban counties outside of New York City within the transit agency’s service area. In New York City’s five boroughs, the tax would be phased down to .21 percent. “I am proud to have partnered with my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, Minority and Majority, to craft a responsible plan to phase out the MTA payroll tax. Now is the time for Speaker Silver to do the right thing and put this legislation up for a vote," said Senator Zeldin (R,C,I-Shirley), sponsor of the Senate bill. “This legislation is a responsible measure to phase out this job-killing payroll tax for our local small businesses, hospitals, schools, and nonprofits. There is absolutely no doubt that the MTA, without increasing fares or cutting services, can balance its books after this legislation is implemented. One must question the motives and veracity of any individual or group that attempts to dispute this fact going forward.” The MTA payroll tax was passed by the majorities in the Assembly and Senate in 2009 and authorized numerous supplemental fees and taxes for the 12-county metropolitan commuter transportation district. “Repealing the MTA payroll tax would boost our local economy here on Long Island and would provide struggling small businesses with the relief they need to grow jobs in this difficult economy,” said Assemblyman Jim Conte (R,I,C,WF-Huntington Station). “With over 800,000 New Yorkers currently unemployed, we cannot allow this job-killing tax to remain on the books.” “The elimination of the job-killing MTA payroll tax will be a boost for our region economically by helping to create jobs and would alleviate a tremendous strain on our schools, nonprofits, and small businesses,” said Assemblyman Robert J Castelli (R,C-Goldens Bridge). “Repealing the payroll tax is also the first step to reforming the public authority and it will force the MTA to reevaluate how it spends taxpayer dollars.” “Suffolk County has been disproportionately affected by the MTA payroll tax, which has killed jobs and stifled the vitality of our small-business job creators,” said Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R,C-Shoreham). “Repealing the MTA payroll tax would provide needed relief to Suffolk County families, schools, and small businesses in these difficult economic times.” “The MTA payroll tax is targeting the families, businesses, and children of Long Island at the worst possible time,” said Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C-Holbrook), a co-sponsor of the legislation. “At a time when unemployed New Yorkers need jobs to turn around a crippled economy, this tax punishes the very job creators that are the key to our recovery. On top of the negative impact this tax has for businesses, the MTA is reaching into the pockets of schools busy coping with draconian cuts to education funding in this year’s state budget. The Legislature’s business is not complete until this tax has been taken off the books for good, and I urge my colleagues to join my fight to hold a vote on this measure before we leave Albany for the season.” “Hudson Valley taxpayers have assumed the burden of bailing out the MTA long enough, and we must act now to repeal the job-killing MTA payroll tax,” said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,I,C-Red Hook). “It is unfair and unrealistic to continue taxing school districts and businesses because a government-funded entity cannot be fiscally responsible. I am hopeful that with the hard work of the Assembly and Senate, along with the support of Governor Cuomo, we can end this tax and help reform the MTA.” “Treating business owners and job creators like a piggy bank to fund the MTA’s bureaucratic excess is both irresponsible and shortsighted,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn, Staten Island), who is a co-sponsor of the legislation. “Furthermore, here in New York City, many parochial schools have been forced to close or remain on the chopping block due to the financial restraints imposed by this ludicrous tax. This legislation is vital both to the economic and educational health of Brooklyn and Staten Island. To end the 2011 legislative session without addressing these problems would be disastrous for the people of New York.” “The MTA payroll tax kills employment growth, plain and simple,” said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown). “It is time for the legislature to put job creation at the top of the list of state priorities and end the onerous tax burden that contributes to job loss and business failures. The MTA mismanages its funds and then requests a bailout. I look forward to addressing this problem with my colleagues to see that the job-killing MTA payroll tax is repealed.” Assemblyman Fred Thiele (Sag Harbor) stated, "In 2009, I vigorously opposed and voted against the MTA payroll tax. This ill-considered, job-killing tax is unfair to Long Island and only rewarded the bloated and inefficient MTA for wasting millions in taxpayer dollars. Two years later, the folly of this tax is even more apparent. It is imperative that before we leave Albany, we must vote to repeal this tax if we are going to create a climate to grow the regional economy." "We need to find a better way than the MTA payroll tax to finance the MTA - without burdening already under-financed special act schools and Westchester businesses that don't benefit at all from the MTA," said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (Greenburgh). “The MTA payroll tax is supporting an organization that mismanages their funds and asks taxpayers for more dollars to fix their problems,” said Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,C,I – Glen Head). “It is time for the state to take action to protect taxpayers and repeal the job-killing MTA payroll tax. This state needs to promote job creation and not promote taxes that do the exact opposite. The time for action is now; the Senate has passed this bill and, with only moments left in legislative session for this year, we need to protect taxpayers and repeal the MTA payroll tax.” “Repealing the MTA payroll tax is the most important legislative priority for residents of the Hudson Valley,” said Assemblyman Steve Katz (R,I – Yorktown). “Without a full repeal of this job-killing tax, businesses will continue to close, jobs will be lost and residents will move out of state. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and to be joined by a bipartisan caucus of lawmakers who understand that without repealing the MTA payroll tax before the end of this year’s legislative session, Albany is neglecting the top concern of Hudson Valley and Long Island residents – essentially telling them that Albany’s three men don’t care if their jobs are lost or if they are taxed out of their homes.” “The MTA has been using the taxpayers of New York like we’re an ATM,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra (21st District). “With 800,000 New Yorkers unemployed, we should be doing all we can to create jobs and lower taxes. Our schools and small businesses are forced to pay this tax while at the same time morning trains are being reduced and weekend services eliminated at several stations. The MTA payroll tax only allows a bloated bureaucracy to continue to fund its inefficient services with our money as it eliminates services from our community.” “I have long been a strident opponent of the MTA’s reckless use of taxpayer dollars to subsidize poor service and increasing deficits,” said Assemblyman Dave McDonough (R,C,I – Merrick). “It's time to overhaul the MTA, sunset the payroll tax, and end the fiscal hostage-taking that will, undoubtedly, stymie economic recovery, further burden our struggling Long Island families, and continue to fan the flames of mistrust and partisan wrangling that has paralyzed our government at all levels. Albany cannot continue to fund poor policies, inefficient services, and faulty management. Now is the time to repeal the MTA payroll tax for a stronger Long Island.” The MTA payroll tax does nothing but drive up the cost for our taxpayers, small businesses, schools, and local governments, ultimately making services more expensive,” said Assemblyman Saladino, a main sponsor of the MTA repeal legislation. “This job-killing tax is another mandate for Long Island and its residents. Given the mismanagement of this organization and the fact that Long Islanders are already overtaxed, it is important that Albany addresses this issue and brings this legislation to the floor for a vote.” "The MTA tax has brought us ‘taxation without representation’, and makes local municipalities, hospitals, and charitable organizations, none of which utilize the MTA, to contribute to the exorbitant continuing of out-of-control expenses of this entity and has made us the ATM of this out-of-control Authority," said Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun (R,C,I-Blooming Grove).