Ball Unveils Symbolic Gesture for MTA Tax Revolt

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) unveiled the ‘Rescind the MTA Payroll Tax’ check for non-profit organizations, school districts, local governments, and small businesses in Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties as the first step in his plan for a historic Tax Revolt on the steps of the Putnam County Courthouse.

“This is the first step toward a historic tax revolt,” Ball said. “We will make available on my official web site a symbolic check for non-profits, schools, churches, and small businesses to write how much they are giving to the MTA, then bring those checks to the Putnam County Courthouse on April 15th.”

Participants at the April 15th Tax Revolt on the steps of the Putnam County Court House will submit their symbolic checks to Ball, who will calculate how much money is being taken from the Hudson Valley to bail out the mismanaged MTA when it could be used to create jobs.

Councilman Terrence Murphy (R – Yorktown) said he will support Ball’s efforts to have the MTA Payroll Tax rescinded.

“I own and operate two local businesses here in Westchester, and this directly effects me,” Murphy said. “This is highway robbery and thievery from the MTA. It has got to stop. Who is going to pay my gas bill when it goes to $4 a gallon? Is the MTA going to support us? That’s what they are asking us to do for them, to support their malfunction and dysfunction. I will support Assemblyman Ball and anyone else who will dismantle this outrageous tax on us business owners in New York State.”

Ball also applauded Governor Paterson’s proposal to cut in half the Hudson Valley’s MTA tax obligation, calling it a good first step.

“We want this payroll tax rescinded. Period, end of story,” Ball said. “Albany’s beginning to realize that the Hudson Valley cannot bear the burden of the MTA’s mismanagement. I applaud the Governor for his proposed changes, but we will not be satisfied until the MTA Payroll Tax is repealed and a forensic audit is conducted. Our message must be clear and unyielding or this tax will be the final nail. We must work together to make sure this tax is rescinded.”

At an afternoon gathering at the Brewster Train Station, Ball presented 500 symbolic checks to Tom O’Leary, Board Member of the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has agreed to distribute these checks to their membership.

“The Chamber is concerned about this additional layer of tax on the already over-burdened businesses of Putnam County,” O’Leary said. “We are trying to quantify exactly how much MTA tax is being paid by our small businesses. We wish to demonstrate how many jobs have been lost or not created, and how many capital improvements have not been made or properties not been purchased due to this additional tax. As Merchant Promotion Chairman at the Chamber, I am concerned that the money businesses have to pay to the MTA is less money invested by those businesses to promote their own business through advertising and other means.”

Dr. Louis Lindenbaum, Deputy Executive Director of Putnam ARC (PARC) presented Ball with a check representing his non-profit organization’s $45,000 MTA Payroll Tax obligation.

“This is another unfunded mandate that PARC is forced to pay,” Lindenbaum said. “The MTA payroll tax is unfair and not evenly spread out across the entire state and we are left to pick up the burden of this payroll tax. PARC will pay $45,000 in MTA payroll taxes this year and that’s taking money away from the people with developmental disabilities that we serve every day. PARC is picking up the cost of this tax. We are not offloading it or passing it onto our employees. Our participants and our programs cannot afford any more cuts or any mandated payroll taxes.”

George Arco, owner of Arco Cleaning, was the first to hand Ball a symbolic check.

“I believe the MTA tax imposed on Westchester County businesses is unconstitutional,” Arco said. “Where is our representation in this matter? We should not have to bail out another mismanaged organization. The fact that this payroll tax is not deductible like other payroll taxes is equally outrageous. Greg Ball should be commended for taking on this issue.”

Judy Othmer, co-owner of Equity Partners in Carmel, estimates her small land development company will pay $7,000 in MTA Payroll Tax.

“I feel it’s a very unfair tax that burdens small businesses,” Othmer said. “We work in Putnam and Westchester Counties, and we do not use the MTA.”

The ‘Rescind the MTA Payroll Tax’ checks are available for download from the website auditthemta.com, where visitors can also sign a petition demanding an independent forensic accounting of the MTA. Employers can also receive a symbolic check through Ball’s Assembly Office. Participants can also mail their symbolic checks to the Assembly office at 2392 Route 6, Brewster, NY, 10509 prior to the April 15th Tax Revolt Rally.

Editor’s Note: This Press Release is available as a Word document.

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →

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