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From the desk of Senator Charles Fuschillo: September 21, 2011

This Sunday, New York’s overtaxed residents and businesses will be forced to pay more yet again when the Port Authority’s toll increase takes effect.

As I stated when the Port Authority first announced its plans to raise tolls, these increases are a step in the wrong direction for a state which led the country in the percentage of people who left for other states, has the nation’s worst business tax climate in the country, and the second highest state and local tax burden.

The Port Authority should have looked harder to find internal savings before asking overburdened families and businesses to pay more. Audits issued by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, as well as other media reports, showed numerous areas where the Port Authority failed to contain costs and appropriately manage its finances.

While Governors Cuomo and Christie required the Port Authority to conduct an audit of its finances as a condition of approving a toll increase, this is a step which should have been taken before any toll increase was considered.

Nearly a month later, we still have no details about the audit, such as when it will commence, who will be paying for it, what it will cover, and when the results will be announced. I asked the Port Authority for answers to these questions over three weeks ago. I have yet to receive a response.

The Board should rescind these increases and wait until the results of the audit have been finalized to see what alternatives are available to generate savings without having to ask New Yorkers to pay more yet again.