Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) has been reviewing the budget proposals submitted by each house’s majority conference. While each bill addresses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the assemblywoman said the bills need to go further.
“I was glad that the Assembly Majority has rejected the governor’s $100 million ‘gift’ to the MTA in their proposal. I also was pleased to see that the Senate Majority has included provisions to exclude the schools from paying the MTA payroll tax,” said the assemblywoman. “However, these are only one-house bills. We need a consensus amongst both houses and with the governor and, additionally, I know Hudson Valley residents want to, and deserve to, see more. The MTA payroll tax must be rescinded – for everyone.”
The majority conferences’ budget bills were submitted over the weekend and are expected to be brought to the floor of each house this week. Neither majority significantly changed the governor’s budget proposal, which was presented on February 1, 2011, although both houses made adjustments to increase school aid by roughly $700 million.
The Assembly Majority took the governor’s $100 million appropriation from the MTA (the funding was originally taken by the governor from economic development funds to give to the MTA for operational costs) and put this money toward increased school funding. The rest of the money the Assembly Majority plans to give to schools would come from the imposition of new taxes.
The Senate Majority proposed to stop collecting the MTA payroll tax on schools and, instead, use the money the state has traditionally used to refund schools for this cost, as a boost to schools’ funding. While Assemblywoman Rabbitt was pleased to see each house go after the MTA directly, she remained steadfast that nothing could be accomplished without more consensus.
“No one wants to cut schools – but we also need to talk about jobs. Redirecting the economic development money the governor wanted to give the MTA or closing a loophole to allow schools to stop paying the payroll tax – it’s all smoke and mirrors. The people of New York State deserve long-term solutions that help restore our economic prosperity and give our children a real chance in the future. Until we rescind the MTA payroll tax, we aren’t meeting that need. This tax will continue to force our businesses, our families and our children to move out of state,” said Assemblywoman Rabbitt.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt is asking all residents in Orange and Rockland counties to visit their local government offices or call her office to sign her petition to rescind the MTA payroll tax. While her office has been flooded with signed petitions already, she will be bringing them to Albany next week to present to the governor. To request a copy, please call her Goshen Office at 845-291-3631.