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From the Desk of Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt: May 15, 2009

MTA Bailout Will Hurt Long Island

The recent MTA bailout legislation is yet another attack on Long Island. This year’s state budget already saddles New Yorkers with extra taxes, and this bailout will further compound that burden with additional fees. It continues to baffle me that in the midst of a tough economic climate, the solution continues to be imposing further taxes on residents. Time and time again, state leaders have demonstrated that they are content with the knee-jerk reaction of raising taxes to address fiscal challenges, which does nothing but sweep the problem under the rug.

Implementing a payroll tax on Long Island schools and businesses will further hurt students and the local economy. There is no justification for a tax that hijacks funding from students. Supporters of this bailout are taking cover by saying that schools will be reimbursed next year, but it is speculative that the funding will not be available in light of the deficits we face. Imposing this payroll tax on other public entities can very well result in high property taxes for already overburdened homeowners.  It is equally unfair that Long Island businesses have to pony up for an MTA payroll tax when there’s a possibility that none of their employees even use MTA services to get to work. 

This bailout sends a dangerous message to the other public authorities in New York.  By bailing out the MTA, we are telling other authorities that it is acceptable to be fiscally irresponsible because taxpayers will save the day.  I voted against this legislation and was hopeful that my Long Island colleagues in the Assembly and Senate would have done the same.