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Governor Signs Tax and Jobs Bill in West Hempstead

Cuomo calls tax break lowest in 58 years, bill calls for MTA payroll tax repeal

Six months ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to Lynbrook to sign the 2 percent tax cap legislation, a bill he called a decade-long battle for that legislation in New York State. On Monday, Dec. 12, Cuomo visited West Hempstead’s Cornwell Avenue School to sign the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation bill, which has been touted by the governor and supporting senators as bringing real tax relief to businesses and the middle class in New York State.

The state legislature passed the bill on Dec. 7.

The bill repeals the MTA payroll tax, a tax that Long Island more than most parts of New York State endures. The MTA tax was enacted in 2009 to help bail out the cash-strapped transit agency. Officials and business owners on Long Island have been increasingly speaking out against the tax, calling it an unfair and unwelcome burden in a tough economy.

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,” he 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.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a leading opponent of the tax, praised Cuomo’s work on the tax cut and jobs bill. Other lawmakers who attended the news conference included, but were not limited to State Senators Lee Zeldin, Jack Martins, Kemp Hannon, Charles Fuschillo, Ken LaValle, Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper, Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Nasssau County Executive Edward P. Mangano among others.

“We’re going to undertake a jobs program in this state in a way that has not been done in modern political history,” Cuomo said in West Hempstead. “We’re going to start rebuilding our roads and our bridges that we should have been rebuilding for decades.”

The bill reduces MTA tax for some 290,000 businesses in the 12-county MTA region with annual payrolls ranging from $10,000 to $1.25 million, approximately 78 percent of businesses currently paying the tax. Another 6,000 businesses with payrolls from $1.25 million to $1.75 million will see tax cuts of one-third to two-thirds.

“The MTA payroll tax has been an enormous burden on businesses and today we are lifting that burden,” Skelos said. “More than 290,000 small businesses will now have a greater opportunity to invest in their businesses and invest in creating new jobs. I want to thank the members of the Senate Republican Conference, especially Senator Lee Zeldin, for keeping up the pressure to repeal this job-killing tax; and I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and for signing this measure into law.”

Skelos stated that schools, both public and non-public, would be exempt from the MTA payroll tax. He said it’s important to know that the 80 percent of businesses to benefit from the repeal will see a positive result.

“We’re lifting the burden for nearly 290,000 small businesses, including more than 37,000 in Nassau County and nearly 35,000 in Suffolk County,” he said. “We’re confident that [the businesses] will now invest within their businesses and to create more jobs and hire more people.”

Additionally, the bill provides $50 million in additional relief for areas affected by the recent flooding. A job retention tax credit will also be extended to businesses harmed by a natural disaster within the last year.

“Small businesses are New York’s growth engine and this tax reduction will help create jobs and get our state’s economy back on track without jeopardizing funding for the MTA,” Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the leadership as well as the members of the legislature for their dedication in seeing the MTA tax reduced and working to get our economy moving again.”