The following information was released by the New York Republican Party:
Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley) and Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) announced today the introduction of legislation to repeal the job killing MTA Payroll Tax. This announcement came on the heels of months of studying, listening and learning about the MTA and its financial situation. Also joining them at today's announcement in Hauppauge was Senate co-sponsor Kenneth P. LaValle (R, C, I- Port Jefferson).
I have spent my first few months in office, questioning Chairman Walder, MTA board members, state legislators, transportation experts, economists and others to identify ways for the MTA to tighten its belt, said Senator Zeldin. There is absolutely no doubt that the MTA, without increasing fares or cutting services, can balance its books after this legislation is implemented. One must question the motives and veracity of any individual or group that attempts to dispute this fact going forward.
Summary of Legislation
Small businesses with twenty- five employees or less, as well as public and non-public schools throughout the entire Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD), would be completely exempted from the payroll tax as of January 1, 2012.
The payroll tax, for the seven suburban counties within the MCTD, beginning on January 1, 2012, will have tax rates reduced to .23%. The tax will be further reduced to .12% for 2013 and fully repealed as of January 1, 2014. These counties include Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess.
Within New York Citys five boroughs, the tax would be reduced to .28% on January 1, 2013 and .21% beginning on January 1, 2014. The payroll tax would remain in effect at the .21% rate for New York Citys five boroughs.
Senator Greg Ball (R, C- Patterson) is also a co-prime sponsor. Additional co-sponsors include Senators LaValle, Johnson and Saland. The bill is being carried in the Assembly by Assemblyman George Latimer (D-Rye). Assembly co-sponsors Assemblyman Dean Murray (R, C- East Patchogue) and Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C- Holbrook) were also in attendance at todays press conference.
This is a tax that should have never been implemented. It has hurt our businesses, schools, hospitals, not-for-profit groups and all of our residents at a time when people are struggling. The MTA could and should operate without this additional tax being levied against employers that have nothing to do with the MTAs service. We are committed to the elimination of this onerous tax. This legislation, which I am proud to co-sponsor, will phase the MTA Payroll Tax out until it is completely eliminated at the end of 2013. When this tax was enacted in 2009, our taxpayers were asked to once again reach into their pockets to pay for MTA inefficiencies. That has to stop now, said Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola).
The MTA payroll tax was ill conceived and is onerous. I thank Senators Zeldin and Martins For their leadership on this important issue that is crippling job creation and growth in our region, said Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R, C, I- Port Jefferson).
I have studied the MTAs budget, consolidated balance sheets, real estate portfolios, comptroller audits, news articles and more. I have spent many hours reflecting on an effective legislative solution for Albany to act on. I am extremely confident that this bill is the legislative solution to not only repeal the MTA Payroll Tax, but also help shine a light on how the MTA can begin to fix its own financial house. My promise is not to rest until the legislature takes action on this bill to repeal the payroll tax, continued Senator Zeldin.
The payroll tax can be repealed without cuts to services or increases in fares as the MTA may choose to threaten going forward. While noting that real estate transfer tax collections are now increasing due to a recovering economy, Senator Zeldin has identified over a dozen potential ways for the MTA to cut expenses to balance its books. These include, but are not limited to: