Transit Tax

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pete Donohue, transit reporter for the Daily News, talks about the Ravitch Commission's proposed payroll tax to help fund the MTA.


Pete Donohue

Comments [21]


How 'bout firing MTA managers for lousy performance. Hell, OTB went bust, this is what we're dealing with.

Dec. 05 2008 11:56 AM
self-employed in brooklyn from brooklyn, ny

great idea, Sue (#7)!

a friend of mine who has lived on the uws for years, noticed how the trains have been crazy impossible to get on during rush hour after donald trump's massive buildings were occupied.

i think Sue and AM NY are right, the co-op buyers need to contribute. also, i think the developers need to do their fair share. afterall, sales of their apts rely on conveniences offered to the buyers and mass transit is one of those conveniences.

Dec. 05 2008 11:54 AM
self-employed in brooklyn from brooklyn, ny

as a dedicated mass transit user who is also self-employed (i pay myself a salary from my business), i don't mind paying this tax IF the monies are thoroughly accounted for.

i don't drive but i think this employer tax is far more fair than taxing drivers and those who need to drive from queens/brooklyn.

and what's even more fair is reinstating the commuter tax. even at half the rate it was before gov. pataki repealed it, it would still be enormously helpful.

however, they (gov. paterson + the mta) get their money from us, the accounting MUST be transparent.

the incredible wastefulness and inefficienciess of the mta (construction projects that take three/four/five times as long as projected) are truly absurd and sadly true.

for real, that kind of nonsense has got to stop.

Dec. 05 2008 11:48 AM
Leo from Queens

Brian, Its really offensive that you and WNYC continue to skim over or ignore the corruption and lack of accountability with regards to MTA management and government in general. The caller mentioning the announcement and communicaiton system which was supposed to be installed right after 9/11 never happened. What happened with that money? -

Dec. 05 2008 11:47 AM
Leo from Manhattan

Early in the conversation, it was mentioned that the tax would only impact employers (i.e. the burden would be on employers since the tax is levied on the employers) and the effects would trickle down to employees.

The truth is simpler -- economics has long shown that WHO the tax is imposed upon is not the main determinant of the incidence of a tax.

Whether this tax would be imposed on employers or employees, the distribution of tax incidence would be determined by the elasticities of supply and demand for workers in a given field.

Take a look at an intro macroeconomics textbook for confirmation!

Dec. 05 2008 11:46 AM
Matt K from new york, ny

Would the payroll tax expire at some point once the MTA wasn't in much of need?

Dec. 05 2008 11:46 AM
Leo from Queens

TO Maggie Waters in Brooklyn: The answer to your second question is a RESOUNDING YES!!.

The East River tolls, as well as the congestion tax would be passed on by vendors NOT ONLY to Manhattanites, but to people like you and me. Just take milk for example. as you know there are not many cows in Brooklyn or Queens. Milk deliveries are distributed from warehouses far away in NJ - They have to go through several bridges to reach your local store. ANY added costs to them will be passed on to you and me!

Dec. 05 2008 11:45 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Do freelancers really have a "payroll"? I certainly don't think of myself as having one. But are payments *to* freelancers considered to be part of a *company's* payroll? If not, might some employers hire fewer employees & more freelancers to avoid the new tax?

Dec. 05 2008 11:44 AM
Zach from Upper West Side

Do it. This is a good plan. The MTA has fat, but a big part of the problem is the debt it was forced to incur during the Pataki administration. Gotta pay for debt. This plan is a sustainable method for financing operations and capital costs. DO IT!

Dec. 05 2008 11:43 AM
fredrikh from queens

I can suggest my plan for MTA bailout, based on my experience, working in MTA.
We have 1 superintendent for 25 workers, what makes about 1000 superintemndens. May be you can some savings here. And cutting some General Superintendants will be useful.

Dec. 05 2008 11:42 AM
robert from park slope

A payroll tax on a large employer hiring 5,000 employees or more would come to a few million $/year. Over time, this becomes a growing incentive for employers to move jobs out of NYC

Dec. 05 2008 11:41 AM
Leo from Queens

Hi Brian,

Instead of a Payroll tax to further discourage employers from creating jobs in the region why not impose a $5 surcharge on all parking in Manhattan between 6am-6pm. NO NEW Bureocracies required!!

It will discourage driving into the City thus reducing congestion and providing a steady source of revenue for the MTA (Provided we have a true reform of the MTA by requiring accountability and transparency)

Dec. 05 2008 11:40 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Has anyone considered raising the gas tax? I suppose that is politically untenable because it would hit upstate drivers to fund a downstate system. I think you make the argument that if more people downstate took mass transit the air would improve for the whole state.

My objection to the East River tolls is not the money. It's what it would do to congestion on the Brooklyn side which is already awful, and promises to get worse if Bruce Ratner has his way. What about emissions in the neighborhoods near the bridges.

Dec. 05 2008 11:40 AM
hjs from 11211

if only the mayor's congestion pricing plan went though, then only greedy car drivers would pay, now everyone will.

Dec. 05 2008 11:39 AM

Wasn't most of the infrastructure that was built in the 50s and 60s was from Federal Money? Don't we need the feds to kick in for these projects.

Also can we get an actual budget for these projects first?

Dec. 05 2008 11:38 AM
Sue Pascucci from Brooklyn

Why isn't anyone considering instituting the mortgage recording tax for co-op buyers (presented in AM NY news yesterday) and close the loop hole in the law?
(Wouldn't it be nice to shift the burden to those with the $$$ to make a such a purchase!)

Dec. 05 2008 11:37 AM

Hahaha madam x! :)

Trimming the fat would involve actually having access to their records, which would be wonderful.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see anything about a commuter tax. If this was added, I guess the plan would be fair; it's better for everyone to be somewhat upset as opposed to one group suffering completely.

Dec. 05 2008 11:36 AM
Maggie Waters from Brooklyn

Two questions:

Isn't a huge amount of the MTA deficit due to payments to loans?

Won't vendors who have to cross the East River pass on their costs to Manhattanites?

Dec. 05 2008 11:34 AM
madam x from nyc

charge men a higher fare, since they all "need" at least a seat and a half.

Dec. 05 2008 11:25 AM
Kissel from Manhattan

Is it just too much to ask for them to actually trim the enormous fat from the MTA (reduce the enormous payroll and pension costs). At this point much of the system can be completely automated.

I mean the bottom line is people in NYC pay the most taxes, the highest tolls, the largest business taxes, etc in the nation. How many more people and businesses do they want to chase out of the area?! Particularly during these times.

People just don’t have anymore money to throw down the hole that is the NY/NYC government bureaucracy. There is no genius or creativity in simply increasing taxes on the already overburdened to just continue to give it to the same wasteful entities.

Every tax they add on is always increased, the budgets rise to match and the cycle continue. I've read through yesterday's entire proposal and I saw nothing concerning controlling and reducing labor costs. What would be so bad with a bankruptcy of the MTA. This would force contracts to be renegotiated or even completely removed and get rid of the major systemic problem of the MTA which cannot be resolved with hikes.

Dec. 05 2008 11:21 AM
Sue in Astoria from Long Island City/Astoria

The MTA can't be trusted with one more penny of anyone's money. If Albany will not re-structure and re-charter the MTA so that it is accountable and effiecient....or else just sell it to Dubai.

Dec. 05 2008 10:41 AM

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