New York State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. today announced that he opposes a payroll tax on New York businesses proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to bail it out of its financial troubles.
Senator Fuschillo (8th District), Ranking Member of the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation, recently met with Richard Ravitch, author of the Ravitch Commission Report on Metropolitan Transportation Authority Financing. Senator Fuschillo said that he has serious concerns about the Report, which recommends imposing a payroll tax on all businesses at a time when the State unemployment rate is higher than any other in the nation.
Senator Fuschillo said, “This payroll tax is simply a bad idea in a time when layoffs are rampant in this area and residents are also facing fee and toll increases. We need to reduce the tax burden for businesses on Long Island so they can create jobs, rather than enact tax increases that will further undermine the job market.”
According to New York State Labor Department statistics, since December 2007, New York State has lost more than 122,000 jobs, including 21,600 in Nassau and Suffolk Counties alone. The current unemployment rate in the two-county region has risen to 5.8 percent.
Under the Ravitch payroll tax plan, all employers on Long Island, including those self employed and not-for-profits, would have to pay one-third of one percent of wages to support the MTA, even if their employees do not use mass transit.
Senator Fuschillo also said that the MTA should consider seeking ways to trim its own budget further. In November 2008, the New York State Comptroller’s Office reported that the MTA employs 70,000 including those in non-essential and redundant positions. The MTA employs a total of 444 public relations professionals. The recent retirement-disability scandal involving Long Island Railroad employees is further evidence that work is needed to ensure greater accountability within the MTA’s budget, Fuschillo explained.
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