Opinion

With all the attention being paid to the Long Island property tax burden, why is Governor David Paterson supporting the MTA's proposal for a .33 percent payroll tax on employers within the MTA region, including Nassau and Suffolk counties?

Long Island's New York state Senate and assembly delegation should stand united in opposition to this proposal.

We remind the governor that this is an employer tax, not an employee tax and shifts the cost of the MTA bailout onto the backs of local property taxpayers.

In embracing this proposal, the governor is endorsing a mandate that would increase Nassau County school budgets by approximately $11.6 million, and Suffolk County school budgets by approximately $12.8 million, a cost that will be shifted directly to the local school property tax...that's $24.4 million more collected in school property taxes with not one dollar supporting classroom instruction. Local governments, nonprofits and businesses would also be impacted.

Perhaps just as ominous is the precedent such a tax would set. Long Island has never had a designated payroll tax. Once this is approved, no matter its inaugural percentage, it will become an established funding mechanism for the state. The next time the MTA is running short of cash, the state will have the ability to tap into this resource, raising the payroll tax to fund their deficit du jour.

In a time when the governor's Deficit Reduction Assessment already targets Long Island to lose state aid at a rate that is 42 percent higher than the rest of the state, why would the governor further penalize the region with a tax on schools to support commuter operations unless it is to shift the cost away from the state and on to the backs of the local property taxpayer?

Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association (NYSSBA) has been calling for relief from overly burdensome property taxes. Is the response to support a New York City agenda by imposing an even greater burden on property taxpayers of Long Island?

Jim Kaden

President

Nassau/Suffolk School Boards Association


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