Rockland County To Revive Its MTA Payroll Tax Lawsuit

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Rockland County executive Scott Vanderhoef said the county will revive its own lawsuit against a transit payroll tax after a court ruled yesterday that the tax is illegal.

The county filed its own lawsuit in 2010, claiming the 2009 payroll tax implemented by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was unconstitutional. The case was rejected in state Supreme Court and wasn’t appealed as the county waited for a ruling on a similar lawsuit filed by neighboring counties.

Now, Vanderhoef said, the county will file its appeal armed with Thursday’s court decision.

“We have held the appeal until this decision. So we will now appeal it and let the cases come together,” he told Gannett’s Albany Bureau today. “This is great news. I don’t consider myself a legal expert, but it seems to me that there was some strong constitutional grounds, and this judge obviously felt it was true.”

Vanderhoef said Rockland in particular has been hurt by the tax. The county has argued that it doesn’t get as much MTA service as other counties. The county claims it gives $42 million more in taxes to the MTA than it receives in services, and county employers pay another $18 million a year through the payroll tax.

The state Legislature in 2009 imposed the payroll tax on the 12-county MTA region. It brings in about $1.3 billion a year to keep solvent the financially struggling agency, which provides transit services to New York City and its suburbs.

Justice R. Bruce Cozzens Jr. said late Thursday that the payroll tax a “special law” passed by a 60 percent majority vote in the Assembly and also needed a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which it did not receive.

“This law should have been, according to the state Constitution, passed with either a Home Rule message or by message of necessity with two-thirds vote in each house. This did not occur, therefore this law was passed unconstitutionally,” Cozzens wrote.

The lawsuit was filed by Nassau County, and Westchester and Putnam counties were among counties that later joined the lawsuit.

The MTA has vowed to appeal.

“The MTA strongly believes that yesterday’s ruling from Nassau Supreme Court is erroneous,” the agency said in a statement. “We will vigorously appeal it and we expect it will be overturned, since four similar Supreme Court cases making the same argument were previously dismissed.”

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  1. HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller on

    ….why! ( Is THIS Love that I AM Feeling! Is THIS Love? Ohooooooo Is THIS Love Love that I am Feeling? OoooooooooooIs thissssssssd Loveeeeeeee that I AM Feeling! )

    I AM sorry just got distracted! …

    Well! POOR ROCKLAND County, The Guy Who had a CLOSED DOOR MEETING ( and with Permission of The Law ) let me write “FLEE” i.e. Ran Away To The King George’s Palace!….

    NOW The People of ROCKLAND County are hearing about a ” Revision”! ….What happened!

    The County Executive will ( really) need to explain more! …. MTA eats grass … And, the Americans who are Hardworking have to choose which meal to eat…

    Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner! And, the County’s Who knows Who are changing Hats !

    The ROCKLAND County seems to have not learned anything out of The FAA Law Suit Blunder!

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  2. HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller on

    FYI I AM not a Poet! I write what is the difference between right and wrong! I really don’t care about Which side the Wind is Blowing.. ! Neither, I have ever ” Perfectly Tuned” My Writings to suit The King and Cater his Prime Montreal and Jokers!

    It’s one thing to ” Incorporate” a Area of American Soil call it ” government” but, ABOVEALL I have to take care of My Country, Your Country And Our Country!

    I AM really concerned, if majority of Counties do the same accross Our Nation where is The Country going to lead! The Local Governments are Our Pillars on.which Our Federal Structure is strengthened!

    And, which direction are The Counties headed?

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller