June 8, 2009

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Mid-Hudson officials band together, consider action against MTA taxes

POUGHKEEPSIE – Mid-Hudson State Assemblymen Gregory Ball and Marcus Molinaro, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik and representatives from Chambers of Commerce throughout the Hudson Valley region Monday held a summit to discuss what to do to combat new and increased MTA taxes on the region.

The purpose of the Poughkeepsie City Hall session was to let the elected officials get a feel for what capabilities regional businesses have to collectively combat those taxes. Businesses believe the most onerous is a new payroll tax.

Tkazyik began the summit by noting that these tax increases are something no one has budgeted for yet everyone from local municipalities to small businesses owners must to deal with. “We just can’t bear it or stand it anymore and the good people of New York are fleeing this state because of all these burdens,” he said.

Ball proposed the creation of a collaborative ‘taxpayer resistance’ by working together with representatives from all counties in implementing an innovative escrow account. Ball called for an organized effort from the businesses in the Hudson Valley and said participation of regional businesses was absolutely crucial, “we need that grass roots effort.” He made it clear that action of this nature needs to be formalized and pursued if any progress is to be made in Albany.

Ball also said that another more formalized meeting was going to have to take place and what the elected officials can do is set up a “closed door session to formalize the discussion but it has to be generated from the business communities side of the house.”

“It’s a matter of focusing on a problem so large in scope that we’re somewhat overwhelmed by it because this might be the most egregious act that’s ever been perpetuated on one group of citizens to benefit another group of citizens,” said Al Samuels, president of the Rockland Business Association. He said it is up to the individual businesses to “coalesce” and network with each other in the same manner that the various chambers of commerce are coalescing with each other to represent the individual businesses in the political arena.

“What needs to happen is the Hudson Valley needs to come together,” Ball said of the business community before stating that they must formally say “we’re going to move forward with this” before any real action can be taken.

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