If ever there was a time to protest taxes, today would be the day. The MTA payroll tax is misguided and unjust. It is infuriating how state legislators, including some elected to serve the best interests of Long Islanders, blatantly disregarded Suffolk County when they voted in favor of this tax. Apparently, the state believes our county is a piggy bank for New York City; and at the end of the day, there is little we can do about it because Long Island clearly has lost its political clout up in Albany. Why else would the state dare to charge us this egregious tax for a service that provides only three poorly timed trains a day. It would be one thing, if the MTA operated a bus network on the East End, but as it stands now we are paying for the subways of New York City and the commuter trains of the Metro North and LIRR trains far to our west, which run hourly in most cases by the way. Now, it seems the Hampton Jitney and people’s private vehicles are doing the job that the MTA should be doing, but isn’t. The maddening thing is, they are charging us as if they were doing the job.
Everyone will lose out in this tax. The businesses will be charged a tax they can ill afford in these economic conditions. They will then be forced to raise the prices of their goods, causing customers, who are likely not receiving raises because their employers now have to pay the tax on their wages, to buy less. And mark our words, the MTA will continue to hemorrhage money. It’s designed that way. The MTA is a broken system full of greed, graft and scandal. And even though taxpayers will spend billions to save this authority, the MTA hasn’t made any promises that they will restructure their business model — unlike GM which had to actually justify their public handout.
All of this is a recipe for disaster and as the governor has already signed this tax into law, there is little any of us can do besides contacting elected officials who will listen and band together in any way possible to protest this tax. Maybe we should put up a toll booth and start collecting a fare of say, a couple thousand dollars for every train that wants to cross the Shinnecock Canal.
It’s The Great Train Robbery, and we don’t mean the movie.