State Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R,C,I – Shirley), said today that Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s on-going audits of MTA operations are further proof that the MTA does not need to cut services or raise fares when the MTA Payroll Tax is phased out. Senator Zeldin and Comptroller DiNapoli have recently initiated dialogue with regards to the MTA's finances.
Senator Zeldin has led the fight to repeal the job-killing MTA Payroll Tax, which was enacted in 2009 to bail out the MTA. The Senate approved Senator Zeldin’s bill to phase-out the MTA Payroll Tax (S.5596-A/A.8193-A) with a bi-partisan 40-22 vote on June 15, 2011. The Assembly Democratic leadership, however, has not yet allowed a vote on the legislation despite broad bi-partisan support in their house as well.
Comptroller DiNapoli, in correspondence responding to a letter from Senator Zeldin, said “[the MTA] has not met its own standards and goals for operations,” and “has experienced numerous problems and reductions in service while continuing to raise fares.” Senator Zeldin’s letter included several specific suggestions for MTA cost savings and additional audit examinations, and the Comptroller said he would review them for future audit planning.
“I appreciate the Comptroller’s response, and I look forward to the results of his forensic audit of MTA overtime costs,” said Senator Zeldin. “There is absolutely no doubt that the MTA, without increasing fares or cutting services, can balance its books after the payroll tax repeal is implemented. The cost-saving suggestions I have made, along with the Comptroller’s audits, provide a roadmap for the necessary reforms the MTA must put in place to end their dependency on ever-increasing taxpayer subsidies. I would encourage the Comptroller to continue to broaden and expand the scope of his audits to identify even larger savings opportunities for the MTA.”
The legislation is supported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, The Business Council of New York State, Inc., The Long Island Business News, New York Farm Bureau, GrowPAC, The Empire State Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Long Island Cares, Inc., The Long Island Business Council, New York State Catholic Conference, the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, Tax Relief Now, the Hauppauge Industrial Association, and several Chambers of Commerce.