Home MTA Economics Top NY court upholds MTA Payroll Mobility Tax

Top NY court upholds MTA Payroll Mobility Tax

by Benjamin Kabak

The New York State Court of Appeals has upheld yet another appeal of the MTA Payroll Mobility Tax, delivering another blow to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s never-ending attempts to starve transit. Despite Mangano’s second such loss and a dismissal by the court that effectively means no constitutional question was directly implicated by the case, the Tea Party-backed Nassau County official, will continue to spend taxpayer dollars on another avenue of appeal.

Yancey Roy of Newsday broke the news:

New York’s top court threw out a lawsuit Thursday seeking to overturn the controversial MTA payroll tax on constitutional grounds. But Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who filed the suit, still has 30 days to appeal on other grounds.

The state Court of Appeals dismissed Mangano’s lawsuit without comment, upholding a mid-level court ruling that the tax, paid by employers in the 12-country region served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is constitutional…

Court spokesman Gary Spencer said Mangano has 30 days to file a motion asking the court’s permission to argue the case. Nassau County attorney John Ciampoli said Mangano definitely will appeal. Ciampoli said the payroll tax was “fundamentally defective in how it was adopted” by the state Legislature.

At this point, Mangano is barking up the wrong tree. He’s not going to get the tax overturned, and his efforts to continue this lawsuit are bordering on laughable. If he loses his reelection bid this November, I’d expect Tom Suozzi would drop the appeal. Polling, however, is very close for this race.

More telling, though, is this comment on the Newsday article. “This tax is a hideous intrusion on the rights of Long Islanders who do not use the MTA,” one commenter said. If that’s not a telling glimpse into the provincial and siloed viewpoints of Nassau County residents who look down upon transit without realizing its true impact, I don’t know what is.

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25 comments

Phillip Roncoroni October 10, 2013 - 2:00 pm

If I lived in Long Island, even if I were a daily commuter of the LIRR, I’d probably wonder where all the money is going since the LIRR is a cesspool of corruption that needs a complete house cleaning.

$8 off peak to go from Great Neck to Penn Station? And that’s only covers half the actual cost? Seriously?

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Eric F October 10, 2013 - 2:21 pm

You can’t expect LIRR employees to toil into their 40s, can you? I mean, everyone deserves a fully paid retirement from age 42 to 90.

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Ed February 18, 2014 - 12:11 pm

They not highly paid at all

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VLM October 10, 2013 - 2:32 pm

If only the reaction from Long Island were that nuanced. This is just knee-jerk “taxes, mass transit bad” from a bunch of rich entitled whiners who wouldn’t know what hit them if the LIRR stopped running.

That doesn’t mean it’s not a corrupt cesspool of ineptitude though.

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Phil October 10, 2013 - 3:15 pm

Take the same trip to penn station with a car and enjoy paying your toll and parking. Say what you will about the LIRR but having done the commute for 4 years I would take the LIRR anytime, even during off peak times. It’s even better when you’re a monthly ticket holder.

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Billy G October 10, 2013 - 3:34 pm

What toll would that be? Why do you need to park exactly at Penn Station? There are places to park on the street in Manhattan. I’ve done it. Your argument is specious.

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Alex October 10, 2013 - 4:30 pm

Yup, tons of street parking in Manhattan, especially during the work day. Easy.

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Chris C October 10, 2013 - 4:40 pm

And is this parking actually near where the driver works or does it then require an additional bus or subway trip?

And if more and more people drove then there soon won’t be anywhere for anyone to park

Billy G October 13, 2013 - 5:44 pm

You addressed exactly NONE of the original claims.

1. Toll? What toll would an *LIRR user* HAVE to pay? There are several free crossings into/out of Manhattan.

2. Parking? YES, there is parking on Manhattan island during the workday, and yes, even near places of work. Is it easy parking? well, depending on the profile of your vehicle, possibly or possibly not. Can I help it if you’re wedded to a particular mode of transport? Nope.

If you’re not flexible enough to examine the available alternatives and make use of them, well, that’s beyond anyone’s ability to help. Stop trying to get government to fix your problems, I’d much rather they just get out of the way.

Brandon October 15, 2013 - 12:43 pm

“Stop trying to get government to fix your problems, I’d much rather they just get out of the way.”

Get out of the way and let you use the bridges and highways they provide for free?

Ed February 18, 2014 - 12:07 pm

The bridges of east rivers crossing should not free at all

JerichoWhiskey October 10, 2013 - 4:31 pm

I can understand areas that are not served by Metro-North or the LIRR would be upset by such a tax, but this is not the case. People need to realize those who use the LIRR are people not on the road causing congestion. When Metro-North reduced service due to the power outage, the roads were packed because those commuters could not board the train they needed. So those who do not use the LIRR do stand to benefit as well.

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Karm October 10, 2013 - 4:51 pm

Yup and Connecticut estimated the loss to their state economy reached into the 9 figures…. and yet funny enough the state of CT has always tried to be “cheap” when it comes to upgrades to Metro-North…

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JMB October 11, 2013 - 9:44 am

Exactly! How can suburbanites be so fucking clueless as to the importance of funding transit, whether they personally use it or not. If they drive, they are well aware that current roads are at or exceed capacity. Taking away funding for transit will equate to everyone piling onto these same road networks. Its just….I don’t know. Maybe its something in the water, or that these teabagging teatards lack any intelligence.When did taxes become abhorrent? Do they not understand nothing is free…that these wars/defense contractors they so love to prop up rely on taxes all the same as our social services and transit network? I really hope this is a dieing mindset and as more of the boomers shuffle off into irrelevancy, we can begin to right the course of our nation’s priorities. Im glad this judge smacked down the appeal,…i only wish that stupid, frivolous lawsuits and their filers could be given the Judge Dredd treatment for wasting our time and holding up progress.

Gotta love the above commenter stating just drive to Manhattan. Yup, now that is truly a sustainable solution.

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SEAN October 10, 2013 - 4:45 pm

New York’s top court threw out a lawsuit thrugh The state Court of Appeals dismissed Mangano’s lawsuit without comment, upholding a mid-level court ruling that the tax, paid by employers in the 12-country region served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is constitutional…

What twelve foregn governments are paying the payroll tax anyway? LOL

If the Tea Party is backing Mangano, you know things there are really screwed up. Nasau’s finantials have been fucked up so badly for so long that the state was forced to step in to untangle it all & it still hasn’t been corrected to this day.

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Karm October 10, 2013 - 4:53 pm

exactly – they should find a way to cut property taxes… not the miniscule MTA tax.

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majortom1981 October 10, 2013 - 4:48 pm

As a long island who does not use the LIRR at all I think the tax is unfair. They do not really serve out east. Plus the LIRR is always breaking down. obviously this money is not being used for what the MTA states it is.

Also its bad enough local governments, and libraries, have to deal with a tax cap. Then you add in them having to pay the mta tax on top of it and it gets bad.

Remember this tax makes it so that people are paying the MTA two or 3 times. You pay it through your library taxes, county taxes , and local government taxes if you live in a village. How is that fair?

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Chris C October 10, 2013 - 5:02 pm

but if you don’t use the library but still have to pay the tax.

if you don’t have any kids you still have to pay taxes for schools.

There are lots of government services that lots of people don’t use but they still have to pay the taxes for them because society as a whole has decided that it rather likes having services such as the police and schools and fire fighters and roads and parks and social services and they need to be paid for.

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SEAN October 10, 2013 - 7:55 pm

The Detroit suburb of Troy closed it’s public library a few years ago because the Tea Party that rules city & Oakland county government didn’t want to fund such programs. As a result, police/ fire && related services are privatized. Could you imagine what Nassau County would look like if they went down the same path? Oh wait, we have NICE. Any Questions?

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Joe in MI October 10, 2013 - 9:02 pm

No, the Troy, MI library didn’t close. People in the area did a good book burning hoax to re-build support for a separate library tax over the objections of the tea party. And the police department isn’t privatized. So bad example.
But to flip it around, if I wanted to take a bus to go the three miles from my house to my office I’d have to walk a mile 90 degrees from my direction of travel to catch one. And be grateful that my city didn’t opt out of the patchwork suburban bus system.

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SEAN October 10, 2013 - 9:16 pm

If that be the case, then thanks for the correction. I based it on several articles I read at that time.

JMB October 11, 2013 - 9:47 am

Thank you. Its not complicated and this whole fairness argument is b.s.

Plenty of things we all are taxed for but never used. Its called working as a society.

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lawhawk October 11, 2013 - 9:21 am

Ben, I think you’ve got two terms mixed up here (I’ve put in bold):

At this point, Mangano is barking up the wrong tree. He’s not going to get the tax upheld, and his efforts at following this lawsuit are bordering on laughable. If he loses his reelection bid this November, I’d expect Tom Suozzi would drop the appeal. Polling, however, is very close for this race.

I think you mean that he’s not going to get the tax overthrown or ruled unconstitutional and his efforts to appeal on other grounds is laughable.

It is.

It’s NIMBYism at its finest. The tax, which helps all residents in Nassau County by reducing the numbers of people on roads and improves commutes to NYC where many residents go to work, is constitutional and there are no grounds left on which for him to sue/appeal. It’s about grasping at straws and tying up government resources.

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Jeremy October 11, 2013 - 12:59 pm

I don’t mind paying the tax if I had better service. I honestly do hope that this funding will improve transit opportunities, because every job offer I’m getting I would have to drive, because the commute to go from Patchogue to say, Huntington, Melville, or Hampton Bays (three potentials right now) just isn’t possible with the LIRR. For Huntington I’d have to go all the way to Jamaica and slingshot around again, Melville has no train service at all, and Hampton Bays, while on the same line, has exactly four trains per weekday, none of which would time well with going to work (3:30 am is one of them? Really?).

I want to work in Manhattan eventually, so I hope this funding could at least be used to improve service on the Montauk Branch if it’s not going to help me now, to see a two hour commute cut down to, say, 45 minutes with better equipment, or give more options for inter-island transit besides buses that I barely see or have poor scheduling (they’re not MTA so it’s on them to improve that, I’d use the bus too if it wasn’t so unreliable from personal experience).

Overall I can understand the frustration a Long Islander might have with the tax. However, a good amount of those people would only drive to work, no alternative. I want to see a better LIRR. I used to live in CT, and I know how good Metro-North is. I currently live in NYC, where I learned to love public transportation. I want to see the LIRR on the same footing, especially if I want to work in Manhattan a few years down the line.

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Ed February 18, 2014 - 12:13 pm

Long Island is joke

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