Home MTA EconomicsDoomsday Budget Gov. Paterson’s not-so-impressive plan unveiled

Gov. Paterson’s not-so-impressive plan unveiled

by Benjamin Kabak

David Paterson has a secret plan for the MTA. After debuting this fact on Wednesday, Paterson spent all day on Thursday talking about it.

“They are reviewing it with their members. If it passes muster, we’ll make sure you know about it soon enough and hopefully vote on it as soon as when we get back. And I would like the day to be Monday,” Paterson said to NY1’s Bobby Cuza on Thursday.

So with all of this secrecy surrounding Paterson’s plan, it better be a good one, right? Well, William Neuman and Nicholas Confessore of The Times spoke to a few sources in the know, and the plan sounds like nothing too secretive. Unless the two reporters failed to uncover something, this super-secret, Save-the-MTA plan focuses around — get this — refunding the schools impacted by the payroll tax.

And you were expecting something groundbreaking and forward-thinking. Neuman and Confessore have more details:

Seeking to break a stalemate on a rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Gov. David A. Paterson made a secret proposal this week to have the state give money to school districts to cover the cost of a new payroll tax, according to people briefed on the proposal.

They said that the school proposal was what Mr. Paterson was referring to on Wednesday when he said that he had a “new idea” to move the stalled authority bailout forward.

The governor has not said publicly what the new idea is. Officials said that he discussed it with the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Wednesday. The payroll tax would provide about $1.5 billion to the authority each year, but four suburban Senate Democrats have opposed it, in part because they said it would burden school districts, which would have to pay the tax.

Meanwhile, the four Democrats whose votes are required for any MTA funding plan and how have vowed to block any payroll tax may not even support this plan. It could be another D.O.A. funding plan for the MTA.

Now, David Paterson is in a precarious position. He wants to reelection, but his popularity rankings are so low that he probably wouldn’t even defeat a Democratic primary challenger. By publicly hitching his wagon to this plan — and promoting it as his compromise to save the MTA — he’s playing a dangerous political game. If this is all he’s got, he’s going to lose.

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Nick May 1, 2009 - 6:12 am

There are just no words for this. I can’t wait to cast my vote in this upcoming election!

Think twice May 1, 2009 - 10:05 am

What is the Straphanger’s Campaign and the Mayor’s Office actually doing about all of this. From those two camps I’ve heard lip service, idle threats, and then nothing but jack s#!+ afterwords.

Marc Shepherd May 1, 2009 - 11:03 am

What exactly do you think the Straphangers Campaign could do?

Benjamin Kabak May 1, 2009 - 11:28 am

Just about anything is more than what they are doing.

Marc Shepherd May 1, 2009 - 11:59 am

The Straphangers are so utterly predictable that practically nothing they say moves the conversation. They’re a one-trick pony, and they have no access to power. I can’t remember an instance where they actually influenced policy. I suppose there’s a first time for everything, but Gov. Patterson is probably the better bet (which isn’t saying much).

rhywun May 1, 2009 - 10:10 pm

They take surveys, they have a sometimes-interesting forum full of 13-year-olds, and they have a lawyer who reliably says the right things on NY1 any time a transit issue comes up.

Otherwise, nobody pays any attention to them.

AlexB May 1, 2009 - 5:14 pm

Doesn’t this feel a bit like when Paterson was stringing us along with his promises to appoint a new senator? It’s all very childish. Just say what you are going to do or deny you are going to do anything like every other politician.


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