MTA payroll tax under fire as Walder talks 2010


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 β€” increased property values, general mobility β€” 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.”

Categories : Asides, MTA Economics

6 Responses to β€œMTA payroll tax under fire as Walder talks 2010”

  1. Josh says:

    Yeah, what we really need is a way to make Metro-North less attractive so that *more* people drive into the city.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      The reality is that a 13 percent fare increase for Metro-North would not make driving a more attractive alternative than taking the train.

      It doesn’t change the fact that these legislators do not seem to understand MTA economics — or, dare I say, any kind of economics.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It’s annoying that the main revenue plan is to increase fares on Metro-North, rather than the LIRR, which has two thirds the farebox recovery ratio. Or, for that matters, tolling the bridges, with the pollution they create in the neighborhoods they impact.

    • Craig says:

      This plan has nothing to do with Long Island or the bridges. The proposal would kill the payroll tax only in Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, while increasing Metro-North fares only in those counties and in Connecticut.

      This plan is really about passing the bill for increased MTA funding from all residents of those four counties to Metro-North riders mostly in Connecticut. (According to the linked article, the fare increase would cost Hudson Valley riders an additional $18 million and Connecticut riders $43 million.)

      The Hudson Valley counties — particularly Rockland and Orange — have for years chafed at bearing the same MTA tax burden as the city, Long Island and Westchester while receiving far fewer services than the other jurisdictions (though service in Rockland has gotten somewhat better than it used to be).

      This bill won’t do anything to rectify the structural problems causing the disparity and its not good policy in its own right, but it’s a reasonable political attempt by local lawmakers to lower the tax burden their constituents face.


  1. […] New Fare: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, Jay Walder, has not ruled out a fair increase for 2010. [Second Avenue […]

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