March 3, 2009

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Proposed MTA payroll tax would cost Orange County school districts $2.2 million

Eastwood: Either raise taxes or cut staff

MIDDLETOWN – If the New York City MTA mobility tax is approved on all payrolls in Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, it would cost Orange County school districts alone $2.2 million per year. The Middletown School District would have to cough up $250,000 and that would mean either raise taxes or cut staff,” Superintendent Kenneth Eastwood said Monday.
(Read full list of impacts to Orange County schools.)

Eastwood and Orange County Legislators Jeffrey Berkman and Thomas Pahucki denounced the payroll tax plan saying it was taxation without representation. Orange, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess each share one-quarter vote on the MTA Board.

The hope of the local officials is that the state will bail out the MTA to cover the expense that would otherwise be borne by the businesses in those counties.

Pahucki said the state should start doing business the way business should be done.

“Maybe Albany needs to have the attorney general look at the MTA and some of their business practices, some of their retiree benefits, some of their people out on disability,” he said. “Maybe they ought to look at the MTA as the old fossil that it used to be and turn it into a new millennium business structure.”

Berkman said his sense is that the issue is not a done deal; that there is pressure coming to bear that may very well see the state cover the MTA’s deficit rather than have it placed on the backs of local taxpayers.


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