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MTA Payroll Tax Repealed By State; Historic Tax Relief to Help Long Island

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo visited West Hempstead’s Cornwell Avenue School on Dec. 12, to sign into law the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation bill, which has been touted by the governor and supporting legislators as bringing real tax relief to businesses and the middle class in New York State.

The state legislature passed the bill on Dec. 7.

Local Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (D-Glen Cove) said, “This bill is the first restructuring of the tax code in decades, and the result is a victory for middle-class and working families and small businesses across the state.  This will make New Yorkers more confident in the functioning of our government, which in turn will be good for jobs and economic growth throughout all of New York State.”

The passage of new progressive tax code reforms will reduce tax rates for 99 percent of New Yorkers and ensure a fairer tax code.  In addition, the legislation will provide assistance to small businesses by significantly scaling back the MTA payroll tax and permanently eliminating that tax for small businesses with payrolls of $1.25 million or less per year.  

Under this new plan, parochial and private schools will join public schools in becoming exempt from the MTA tax.  

NYS Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) said, “I very much appreciate Governor Cuomo’s good faith efforts in working with the Senate to remove this unfair burden on Long Island businesses.  I have said from the day I voted against it, that the MTA Payroll Tax was a burdensome, job killing tax that should never have been adopted in the first place. We still have a lot of work to do to spur our Island economy and create jobs.  That being said, this is a significant victory for our community and a huge step in the right direction.”

Under the original plan, the public schools were to be reimbursed for the MTA tax. The private and parochial were not being reimbursed. Other special schools like Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, paid the tax and were not reimbursed.

Now none of the schools have to pay.

OB-EN School Budget Effect

Oyster Bay-East Norwich Assistant Superintendent for business and grounds, Chris Van Cott was asked if the district had received the expected reimbursement and he said, “We have been reimbursed for the majority of what has been paid by the district prior to June 30, 2011.  We are expecting another reimbursement shortly.” Even though the district was to be re-paid for the funding, the amount had to be put into the budget to generate the funds.

The OB-EN Central School District will be beginning its budget deliberations for which this change in the MTA tax will bring some relief. The budget development calendar starts on Thursday, Jan. 12, with what is being called an Informal Chat, an open forum (it is not an official board meeting – the board will have a Jan. 3 work session; and a Jan. 17 business meeting). The location of the open forum will be announced after the public signs up by calling District Clerk Margaret Nolan at 624-8507 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

On Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. there will be a complete Budget Overview meeting. On Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. there will hold Budget Workshop #1. On Tuesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. they will hold Budget Workshop #2. On Tuesday, March 20 at 8 p.m. they will hold Budget Workshop #3. On Tuesday, April 3 at 8 p.m. they will hold Budget Workshop #4. On  Tuesday, Apr. 17 at 8 p.m. the board will vote to adopt the budget. With the final budget decided and approved there will be a meeting on Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. for a public budget hearing, where they will explain the finished budget.

On Tuesday, May 15, the public will vote on the budget adoption as well as vote for trustee positions from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the foyer of the OBHS gymnasium. All meetings will be held in the Oyster Bay High School Library unless otherwise noted.

Small Business Benefits

The change in the tax code will also benefit businesses.

In addition, small businesses with a payroll of $1.25 million or less also will now be completely exempt from the MTA tax, while businesses with payrolls between $1.25 million and $1.5 million will see their rate fall from 0.34 percent to 0.11 percent.  Businesses with payrolls between $1.5 million and $1.75 million will now pay at a rate of 0.23 percent.

The new high-income tax bracket for households earning more than $2 million per year will raise nearly $6 billion in revenue over the next three years, which will be used to restore crucial funding for schools and healthcare, create jobs and pay down the budget deficit.  The agreement will strongly benefit middle-class taxpayers by cutting income tax rates and indexing the standard state tax deduction to inflation, resulting in an additional gain for taxpayers each year.

A new 13-member Tax Reform and Fairness Commission will suggest long term changes to the tax structure, including income, sales and corporate taxes to make our system more fair and more competitive.

The bill also provides $50 million in flood recovery funds for upstate communities devastated by the hurricane and tropical storm and tax credits for businesses damaged by those natural occurrences.  Still being developed is a plan to provide for important infrastructure repairs of our roads and bridges.

In a press release from Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, he added a comment from an Albany Times Union editorial which concluded that the bill represented a good compromise:  “An art, incidentally, that appears to have been forgotten by Republicans in Washington, forcing states like New York to try to act in the void of federal gridlock.  Here [in New York] are state leaders taking on world-class issues—how to tax wisely in an economic downturn that has exposed a deepening wealth gap in America, how to use government spending to spur job growth and stimulate the economy without breaking the bank and how to deal with our society’s aging infrastructure.  So yes, there is more to be done.  But yes, this is a decent start.”

“This bill is the first restructuring of the tax code in decades, and the result is a victory for middle-class and working families and small businesses across the state.  This will make New Yorkers more confident in the functioning of our government which will be good for jobs and economic growth in New York State,” said Assemblyman Lavine.

In an article by Rich Forestano in the Three Village Times, an Anton newspaper, he reported, “Cuomo said this bill would create the lowest tax rate for the middle class in the state in 58 years. He feels the bill is a step in the “right direction for New York State.”

“The main problem we’re facing is jobs,” Cuomo said. “It is about the economy, and a slow economy.” he said. “Not just in this state but in this nation and not just in this nation, but internationally. It’s a slow economy that has been going on for five years and the sheer length of the recession has made it feel longer.”