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County Executive’s Column: August 6, 2010

County’s Lawsuit Against the MTA

Last week, on behalf of Nassau County taxpayers, the County filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority challenging the legality of the MTA Employer Payroll Tax. The County is seeking to be reimbursed the more than $3 million already paid to the MTA through this unfair tax.

 

We filed this suit the day after the MTA proposed to eliminate the $26 million in funding to the County, which would effectively end public bus transportation in Nassau County. It is shameful that the MTA would even consider the elimination of this funding. This would strand more than 100,000 riders who depend on the bus system every day to get to work, school, and to utilize important county social service programs.

The MTA instituted this job-killing, oppressive tax last year for no other reason than to grab more money to fund their bloated bureaucracy. Clearly, the millions of dollars that Nassau’s businesses have handed over to the MTA have not been used for the benefit of the public, and we want our money back.

Our lawsuit challenges the legality and constitutionality of the MTA Employer Payroll Tax:

• It is unconstitutional and illegal as it imposes upon the Home Rule Powers of local municipalities;

• The payroll tax unfairly taxes and discriminates against Nassau County and every business that must pay the tax;

•The process in which the payroll tax was implemented violated the New York State Constitution.

The MTA continues to blame its financial woes on everyone but itself. They want to cut services and increase fares, while the rest of us have to do more with less during these tough economic times. The MTA’s dysfunction continues to cost Long Islanders time and time again, and this cannot go on any longer.

I will not stand by and allow the MTA to eliminate service to the people of Nassau County. This lawsuit is the first of many steps we will take to fight the MTA on behalf of the 30 million riders who rely on Long Island Bus service to get to their jobs, visit their doctors and live their lives.