Reaction was swift to a state Supreme Court decision yesterday deeming the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll unconstitutional, with a host of lawmakers and candidates cheering the decision.
That tax is on employers in the MTA service region — which includes the lower Hudson Valley — was beat down by a low-level state court late yesterday, though the authority has vowed to “vigorously appeal” the decision.
It was passed in 2009 as part of a bailout plan for the then-cash-strapped MTA, and was partially repealed by lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last year.
It’s been a consistent campaign issue since it was first passed and has continued to be in several suburban races, particularly in southern Westchester County, where candidates for retiring Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer’s seat have sparred over the tariff.
Assemblyman George Latimer, D-Rye, was quick with a statement last night. He sponsors a bill that would repeal fully repeal the tax.
“The elimination of the MTA Payroll Tax will directly relieve Westchester taxpayers significantly,” Latimer said in a statement. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we were able to eliminate the mobility tax for 25,000 small businesses in Westchester alone and now that the MTA has begun to stabilize its finances by controlling costs rather then balancing the books on the backs of suburban taxpayers, we can deliver real relief to Westchester residents. I hope that with this new ruling we will be able to finally pass the legislation that I have introduced that fully repeal the MTA Payroll Tax.”
His Republican opponent, New Rochelle businessman Bob Cohen, is quick to point out, however, that Latimer voted for the bailout plan that included the payroll tax when it passed in 2009.
“This is great news for Westchester small businesses and other entities that have been unfairly burdened by this unconstitutional tax,” Cohen said in his own statement. “This tax was passed by short-sighted Albany politicians, including my opponent George Latimer, who think new and higher taxes are the answer to every problem. This MTA payroll tax has cost Westchester businesses millions of dollars and an untold number of jobs. Mr. Latimer’s tax has been ridden out of town on a rail.”