Monday, 18 May 2009 11:36
Elected officials gathered at the Theodore Roosevelt Nassau County Executive Building to rally against a payroll tax that was recently enacted by State Democrats to bail out the MTA. The tax, which amounts to 34 cents per $100 of payroll, will be applied to all businesses, municipalities and school districts, although school districts will supposedly be reimbursed their payments.
Municipal officials believe the tax will hit hard, causing them to cut services or raise property taxes to pay for the MTA’s bailout. East Williston Mayor Nancy Zolezzi, president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, stated, “In a time of great economic stress when people have lost their jobs and companies are looking to cut costs, it makes no sense to enact a tax on jobs. The MTA bailout plan taxes jobs, and by including the payrolls of local governments, the MTA bailout plan places an additional tax burden on every real property taxpayer on Long Island.”
“It’s the taxpayers who will be picking up the biggest mandated cost local governments have seen since Medicaid. In these difficult economic times, local governments are already scraping the bottom of the barrel to avoid layoffs and raising taxes and then a payroll tax comes along making that impossible to do,” said Senator Dean Skelos, the Senate Minority Leader.
The payroll tax is retroactive to March 1, 2009 for municipalities and all others required to pay it (except for school districts which must begin in September, 2009). The first payment is due with the year’s second quarterly filing in June unless the municipality or business pays electronically, which is monthly.
The MTA bailout will be used to reduce the impact of fair increases to commuters. Long Island Rail Road commuters were facing a 27 percent increase in fares, but are now facing a 10 percent increase, which will be going into effect on June 17. Monthly tickets from the Mineola train station to Penn Station will be increasing from $185 to $204.
Helping to pay to fund the MTA will be the payroll tax, which will be applied to all businesses.
The MTA bailout needed the help of all the Democratic members of the Senate, including Senator Craig Johnson, who represents the 7th Senate District.
“Senator Johnson stood up and successfully fought for a plan that protects schools and taxpayers whose school taxes make up roughly two thirds of their property tax bill, preserves mass transit on Long Island, and puts the MTA under unprecedented scrutiny,” said Senator Johnson spokesman Rich Azzopardi in a statement. “The Senate Republicans had no problem burdening local governments with unfunded mandates over the last 40 years, and had no problem sitting on their hands throughout this most recent process.”