Some news from Long Island: State Senator Lee M. Zeldin, one of a group of Republican representatives from outside of the city, is thrilled to announce that a recent Senate Budget Resolution is an “important first step” on the road to a repeal of the payroll mobility tax. The resolution, which will still need to get through the Assembly and past Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, ends the tax on public and private school. It is, said Zeldin, “the first steps in my efforts to completely eliminate this job killing tax. Exempting schools also removes a school district operating cost, which is paid for by property taxes.”
In addition to this new exemption, the resolution would demand the MTA submit to a full-scale forensic audit within 60 days of its enactment. Allegedly, the audit will find “hundreds of millions more in savings that can be used to support complete repeal of the MTA payroll tax for every employer in the MTA Region.” The MTA, of course, has long embraced a forensic audit, and if such an examination reveals that much savings, it would be a welcome development.
Ultimately, this road to repeal can be a dangerous one for New York and the MTA. As Jay Walder said a few weeks ago, “It would be impossible for the MTA to replace $1.4 billion.” Zeldin and those who support repeal have their constituent interests in mind, but the money is going to have to come from somewhere lest our transit network and regional economy suffer the consequences.