At a bipartisan round table hosted by the Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce and attended by small business owners throughout Putnam, Westchester, and Dutchess Counties, Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) called for immediate work toward a common goal, to rescind the MTA Payroll Tax.
“We want this payroll tax rescinded. Period, end of story,” Ball said. “They know what we’re doing down here. But our message must be clear or this tax will be the final nail. We must work together to make sure this tax is rescinded.”
Vincent Tamagna, Chairman of the Putnam County Legislature, asked the other counties hit by the MTA Payroll tax to join Putnam in a lawsuit.
“I’m glad Assemblyman Ball called for a forensic audit,” said Tamagna. “Putnam County is looking to get Westchester, Rockland, Orange, and Dutchess Counties to join us in a class-action suit. I want a judge to decide if a retroactive tax is fair. I want a judge to tell us that we have a quarter vote in Orange, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties while at the same time NYC gets one vote for each of its boroughs. When we go to a table where we have one solid vote while New York City has four, our vote does not matter.”
Putnam County Legislator Tony Fusco joined Tamagna’s call for an equal voice, and stated the MTA Payroll Tax must be rescinded.
“The people of Putnam County will not subsidize the MTA’s waste,” Fusco said. “We demand our Attorney General and our Comptroller audit the MTA and route out that waste. Today, give the Hudson Valley an equal voice in the decision process. Today, repeal the MTA Payroll tax and make due with your fair share of the federal bailout.”
“We are demanding a forensic accounting,” Ball said. “If you ran your books like the MTA runs its books, you’d be in jail, out of business, or in a third-world country. They have projects that overrun to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy pointed out that nobody employed by the Town of Somers uses mass transportation to travel to work, yet her town is bound to pay the MTA Payroll Tax.
“The MTA Payroll Tax needs to be repealed. It’s that simple,” Murphy said. “Somers, just like all employers, is bound to pay the MTA Payroll Tax. Since we’re paying it, and you’re paying your town to operate, then you’re really paying twice. It’s not only a regressive tax, but it’s a tax that hits you over and over again because of its implementation as a payroll tax.”
Councilman Nick Bianco (C – Yorktown) spoke about the MTA Payroll tax hitting the Hudson Valley twice through its implications on school and town budgets.
“This tax actually reaches into the budgets of school districts and local towns,” Bianco said. “School districts were supposed to be exempt, but they are not seeing the money come back. And the whole bill is then passed on to taxpayers. New York taxpayers cannot catch a break.”
In addition to the continued discussion of a formalized tax revolt on April 15, Ball is also asking all elected officials from the Hudson Valley to join the fight against the Payroll Tax.
“We’re going to ask our federal representative and all our state representatives to sign on our letter, asking for a forensic accounting of the MTA and asking to rescind the MTA Payroll Tax. We want to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and that has to be bipartisan,” Ball said.
Assemblyman Ball distributed a letter in 2009 asking the Hudson Valley’s elected officials to join him in the call to rescind the MTA Payroll Tax and audit the MTA. Ball additionally sent letters to all New York’s statewide elected officials asking that they join the effort.
Editor’s Note: Click the links for YouTube videos of the quotes.