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Letter: The MTA Tax Burden

This is a response to Nassau County Executive Mangano’s column “County’s Lawsuit Against the MTA”, which appeared in the August 4, 2010 issue of The Roslyn News. As is apparent, the problems created for Nassau County by the MTA legislation, including its Employer Payroll Tax component, are varied, mounting, and yet were so predictable from the start. What’s shocking to me however is that, in his column, The County Executive never mentions how we came to be burdened by this tax in the first place. I’m sure he knows that our own Senator Johnson was the hold-out key vote passing it as part of the MTA bailout legislation. What’s worse, Mr. Johnson seems to have done it as part of a deal to get himself appointed to the MTA board (please see The Roslyn News May 14, 2009 article “Senator Johnson Does An About Face” and Newsday June 26, 2009 article “MTA Bailout Deal Reached.”).

At that time, I wrote a letter to The Roslyn News about this, which was published in the May 20, 2009 issue. Here is what that letter said in part: “Senator Johnson Does an About Face” (The Roslyn News: May 14, 2009) had me shaking my head. Mr. Johnson is making a habit of failing his constituents when they need him most. When Albany tries to stick it to Long Island with fare hikes and commuter taxes, isn’t he supposed to step in and protect us? Instead, he “joins the party”, sees it as an opportunity to ask “what’s in it for me” and tries to cut himself in.

A June 26, 2009 Newsday article reports, “State Sen. Craig Johnson’s last-minute support of an MTA bailout could land him a spot on a powerful board that screens mass-transit construction projects, knowledgeable sources said Tuesday. Since Democrats took control of the Senate in January, Johnson (D-Port Washington) has pushed for an appointment to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s Capital Program Review Board.”

Indeed, right after the MTA bailout was passed, Mr. Johnson got his appointment to the MTA Board (Newsday July 22, 2009: “Senator Craig Johnson tapped for MTA Panel”). So I ask you, doesn’t anyone in a position to be heard, have the guts to tell it like it is?

Nurhan Hamarat