MTA tax ruling a big win for mandate relief
The Metropolitan Transit Authority Payroll Tax was deemed unconstitutional Thursday in a ruling that many local municipalities count as a definitive win for the mandate relief movement. The ruling opens the way for communities to petition New York State’s Mandate Relief Council to strike down the law that authorizes collection of the tax. The tax and related levies, which collect almost $2 billion in revenues, were enacted in 2009 and are supposedly keeping MTA trains running. Local goverment officials applauded the prospect of tax repeal, which they said would boost job growth. “This success sends a strong message to job creators that we will not allow residents to be nickeled and dimed to the poor house, nor will we allow job killing taxes to go unchallenged,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
Needless to say, MTA officials were not in support of tax repeal. “Without the payroll mobility tax the MTA would be forced to balance its budget with a combination of devastating service cuts and ever-increasing fare hikes,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told reporters. Predictably, MTA commuters were not in favor of such fare hikes either.
The attack against the MTA is expected to embolden the cause of other mandate relief activists. Many communities around the state are trying discern the way ahead after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap removed any easy way for municipalities to raise money without removing state mandates.