Today in front of the Yorktown Central School, Senator Vincent Leibell (R, C, I – Patterson) and Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) were joined by local not-for-profits to call upon the State Legislature to immediately take action to completely repeal the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) payroll tax.
“I join today with Assemblyman Greg Ball to demand a complete repeal of the unjust MTA payroll tax – a tax that is aimed at the heart of the HudsonValley,” said Senator Leibell.
“There is precious little time left in New York to finally right the ship and get the Empire state back on track,” Ball said. “This MTA payroll tax is the final nail in the coffin of a state that is trending vociferously into a downward spiral. Sheldon Silver and his legislative cronies are not leaders, they are Kamikaze pilots intent on sinking with the ship. Those New York City legislators must finally hear from the HudsonValley and beyond that we are taxed beyond our ability to pay and we are simply not going to take it anymore.”
While the Governor recently announced his support to reduce the amount Hudson Valley and Long Island counties will be paying on the MTA payroll tax (from roughly 30.2 percent of total tax revenues to 11.7 percent), his plan did not completely repeal the tax or make exempt not-for-profit organizations. The tax has been most devastating on not-for-profit organizations, many of whom are already struggling with decreased donations from the economic recession.
“This is another unfunded mandate that PARC is forced to pay. 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,” said Dr. Louis Lindenbaum, Deputy Executive Director of Putnam ARC (PARC).
John O’Keefe, Executive Director of New York Operations at the Devereux Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with children struggling with autism and other developmental disabilities, provided a letter to Leibell and Ball, wishing them success in reversing “this unfunded mandate.”
“The unfair MTA tax has meant that Devereux has incurred a new tax burden of over $50,000 for this year alone! This is during a year that the State Education Department has been unable to provide any increases, even annual cost of living increases for our teachers and teacher aides. Unfunded mandates such as the MTA tax absorbs money that otherwise are needed for staff, food and housing for children with autism and other developmental disabilities,” said O’Keefe.
“The MTA payroll tax is unfair and unnecessary. We should be reducing expenditures rather than increasing taxes to close budget gaps,” said Mary Beth Murphy, Supervisor of the Town of Somers.
“The impact of the MTA Tax on non-profits is huge,” said Pete Bardunias, Executive Director of the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce, “not to mention that it impacts each and every donor who supports these important organizations. A part of their donation dollars now goes to support the spending excesses of the MTA instead of our neighbors who need it the most.”
In addition to calling for the immediate repeal of the MTA payroll tax, the state legislators called on their colleagues, especially those in the HudsonValley, to sign a letter stating their support for repealing the tax in full. A similar letter was circulated last spring by Senator Leibell and Assemblyman Ball and it was signed by all HudsonValley members of their legislative conferences. While amending the tax has since gained bipartisan support, a full repeal has not been agreed to.
Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli joined Ball and Leibell by signing the letter.
“We in the Hudson Valley and taxpayers in the state of New York should not pay for the ineptitude and the incompetence and the mismanagement of the MTA,” Castelli said. “Its my pleasure to come here today to join with my colleagues and sign this document to request a full forensic accounting of the MTA and also to ask for an immediate repeal of the MTA tax that is choking our citizens.”
“Many legislators are doing the ol’ Potomac two step. They do one thing in their district when before the voters, and totally another thing in Albany. This letter deserves to be signed by members on both sides of the aisle, and is the most important step we can now take in demanding a forensic audit and repeal of this horrific tax,” Ball said.
The letter is being circulated to all members of the State Legislature, the HudsonValley’s County Legislators, as well as the HudsonValley’s Congressional delegation for their signature. The letter is available for download here.
Editor’s note: This press release is available as a Word document.