Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) today blasted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which was recently unveiled to have increased salaries since 2009. Salaries were increased despite the fact that in 2009 the MTA asked the State Legislature for a multi-billion dollar bailout and imposed the job-killing payroll tax.
“This news is outrageous, especially in light of the fact that the governor and legislature worked very hard this year to rein in spending and asked everyone – from state employees to school teachers and local workers – to do more with less. Even the governor, who makes less than some MTA conductors, took a 5 percent pay cut. The people of New York State know how bad the economy is and are willing to make the shared sacrifice; but, apparently, the MTA is above that,” said the assemblywoman.
Earlier today, the Empire Center for New York State Policy unveiled that MTA salaries had been posted to the See Through NY, a government-accountability website run by the Empire Center. MTA employees received an average total salary of $72,019 in 2010. This is an increase of nearly 4 percent from 2009.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder’s salary topped the list at $350,000 in 2010, followed by various other top MTA officials all making as much as $285,331. Ranking ninth on the list was a Long Island conductor who received total wages and overtime of $240,489. Governor Cuomo makes approximately $179,000, not including his self-imposed 5 percent salary cut this year.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt said, “When employees are making three times their annual salary with overtime payments, I think there is something seriously wrong. The MTA has been asked to consolidate and reduce its spending, but if this is their idea of sacrificing, then it is further evidence that this agency is in need of an immediate and independent forensic audit.”
“Families are struggling to keep their homes. Jobs are being lost due to the MTA payroll tax. Every day the MTA announces more service cuts and fare hikes. And all the while they are giving themselves raises. Why am I not surprised? If what they are doing is not illegal, it should be,” continued the assemblywoman.
According to the Empire Center, the MTA’s payroll increased by $71 million in 2010 and, for the third consecutive year, 7,993 employees (more than 10 percent of the MTA workforce) took home salaries of $100,000 or more, with an additional 268 employees doubling their base pay rate.
On top of the abovementioned salaries, 53 Metro-North conductors were paid $90,367 over their base salaries of $76,127 according to the Empire Center. Another 15 Metro-North engineers received an additional $75,929 over their base salaries of $80,521.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt said this was particularly disturbing in light of the fact that Metro-North officials recently met with State legislators and asked for an additional $1.7 billion in capital funds. She said, “Ninety nine percent of the MTA’s operating funds come from taxes and fees, and, in May, when we learned from Metro-North that they anticipated the capital funds to be completely depleted by the end of the year, we were shocked. They asked for our assistance in obtaining another $1.7 billion or said more fare hikes and service cuts would be their only option. Fortunately, most of my colleagues in the State Legislature are united on this issue. We believe that the MTA and its subsidiaries should not get one more penny of taxpayer dollars until an audit is performed and analyzed. Furthermore, in light of this recent news, I am even more determined that the MTA payroll tax be immediately repealed, and I will be contacting my colleagues and the governor to call for a special session so we can repeal the MTA payroll tax as soon as possible.”