Posted by: Jon Campbell
A pair of Hudson Valley state lawmakers are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to be audited immediately as the organization begins its search for a new chief executive officer.
Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, and Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, will host a news conference Monday calling on state officials to cast a critical look at the MTA’s books.
Jay Walder, the MTA’s former CEO, resigned earlier this month to take a job in Hong Kong.
“There is no better time than now,” Ball said in a statement. “We’ve known of corruption and gross mismanagement within the authority for years. We have an opportunity here, with new leadership at the helm, to get a fresh start and save taxpayers, communities and small business owners millions of dollars.”
Ball has been critical of the MTA payroll tax, saying that repealing it is “the single most important thing we can do collectively in the Hudson Valley to create jobs.” A bill to repeal the tax, which was implemented in 2009 on businesses within the MTA’s service region as a way to bail out the authority, was passed by the Senate earlier this year, but not the Assembly.
But a Quinnipiac University poll yesterday found that despite complaints from businesses and lawmakers, 42 percent of New York voters want to keep the payroll tax in place.
In a statement, Katz blasted the MTA’s high operation costs, saying it was “completely irresponsible” to use taxpayer money to fund the authority until an audit was complete.
“Furthermore, lawmakers and the public should be given time to review the findings to ensure that any corruption is rooted out and preventative measures can be put into place to ensure the new MTA administration is more accountable and transparent,” Katz said. “If what is being done at the MTA is not illegal, it should be.” (ARTICLE)