ALBANY—Add another group of lawmakers frustrated with the M.T.A.’s found-again deficit: Hudson Valley Republicans.
They’ve been decrying the bailout bill for the authority, which included the underperforming payroll tax, since it passed in May without their votes. One major complaint is that the legisation evenly distributes money across all counties in the M.T.A. service area, regardless of ridership numbers or voting power on the authority’s board.
“My guess is the payroll tax will do no better, primarily because you’ve got businesses shutting down or eliminating jobs. Leave it to New York,” said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro of Dutchess County. He, along with Joel Miller and Greg Ball, has been blasting the M.T.A. and called earlier this year for an audit of the authority. Yesterday, Ball—a candidate for State Senate—called for a “tax revolt” by affected businesses. Molinaro said he has spoken to dozens of civic groups since the bill’s passage, the last one on Tuesday.
“It’s not like I vote some way just so I can say, ‘I told you so,’ but we know what we’re getting in the Hudson Valley, and to be told by others that we should take the medicine anyway is obscene,” Molinaro said. He believes there will be political consequences for those who voted in favor of the tax, and thinks the M.T.A. is in a severe bind now.
“Because of the bailout, they won’t get anywhere with New York City. So it’s not as though they can go back to the drawing board. The city Democrats are not going to give them an inch. They’re not going to be able to cut services and resources in the city and they’ve overtaxed the Hudson Valley, so we’re screwed,” Molinaro said. “They’re not generating the revenue. They’re not going to be able to pay their bills, let alone provide more services. It’s the standard Albany practice of not taking a comprehensive, complete look at things.”