Larkin opposes Senate Democratic MTA bailout

ALBANY – A plan by the new Senate Democratic majority in Albany to bail out the financially troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority would see surcharges on license plates, auto registrations and taxi rides, all within the Mid-Hudson Valley counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester.

Senator William Larkin of Cornwall-on-Hudson, a member of the former Republican majority, is vehemently opposed to the add-ons.

“It’s like in the army they used to say if it doesn’t move, paint it. They’re saying here if it’s got a dollar, take 90 cents from them.”

Larkin said the MTA should take care of its own house and not tax everyone, particularly with the payroll tax.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay for Paul,” he said. “If Paul wants to do it, let Paul pay for it.”

The payroll tax crosses party lines. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a member of the Democratic majority in that house, is also strongly against it.

Pattern for Progress President Jonathan Drapkin notes both houses of the Legislature and the governor must still come to an agreement on a plan.

“While the (Senate) bill calls for greater transparency at the MTA, it would be nice if there was greater transparency in the process of approving this legislation with at least another round of public hearings.”

The payroll tax, which is proposed to range from one-quarter to one-third of one percent on all payrolls, is universally opposed by business and public officials across the upper MTA region.

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