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N.Y. Businesses Fight MTA Payroll Tax

Monday, February 16, 2009

While many New York City lawmakers are protesting a proposal to put tolls on East River bridges that are currently free, their counterparts in the northern suburbs are finding problems with another part of the plan to bail out the MTA. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has more.

REPORTER: The so-called Ravitch plan would have all employers in the 12-county MTA region pay a payroll tax worth 33 cents on every 100 dollars in salaries and wages. But many political and business leaders in the Hudson Valley say the tax is unfair, because it hits all employers equally, regardless of how close they are to the nearest train or bus line.

The head of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, John D'Ambrosio:

D'AMBROSIO: Our commutes are not subsidized, those of us who live and work here. If I cross the Newburgh Beacon Bridge, or the Hudson Bridge, I've got to pay a toll.

REPORTER: Metro North, for example, serves just nine stations in Dutchess County and eight stations in Orange County. Richard Ravtich, the former MTA chairman who devised the plan, said northern counties would have far more sprawl than they do were it not for MetroNorth. The state legislature will debate the plan over the next six weeks. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

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