MTA payroll tax under fire as Walder talks 2010By
MTA economics are never far from the news pages, and this week, two developments sparked headlines. In Albany, five State Senators have introduced a measure to repeal the payroll tax, and although many state representatives have not offered up another plan, this gang of five has. Their “revenue-neutral” plan calls for fare increases of 13 percent for Metro-North riders in Orange, Rockland, Dutchess and Putnam counties and in Connecticut. This, they say, is a more equitable way to fund the MTA. It does not, however, address the economic externalities — increased property values, general mobility — that all residents of those counties enjoy by having accessible and affordable public transit service the area.
Meanwhile, closer to home, MTA CEO and Chairman Jay Walder has not ruled out a 2010 fare hike if Gov. David Paterson’s threats to slash over $100 million in state contributions to the MTA come to pass. Paterson recently announced that every state agency would see reduced contributions from the state as New York looks to shore up a massive budget hole. To balance the MTA’s ledger, then, Walder may have to examine the fares. “We don’t know yet what the circumstances will be and I don’t want to be in the range of conjecturing what’s going to happen,” he said to The Post. “Clearly, there is a discussion taking place in Albany about what they need to do in terms of the deficit-reduction plan that will take place. And we will deal with all the circumstances as they come up.”