Local Officials and Candidates Respond to MTA Tax Ruling

Written By: Robert Cox

New York State Supreme Court Judge Bruce Cozzens Jr. of Nassau County ruled that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Commuter Tax was unconstitutional on the grounds that the law is “a special law, which does not serve substantial state interest”.

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino Released the Following Statement

“This is good news for Westchester County and its municipalities. The MTA payroll tax is essentially an unfunded mandate from Albany. In this case, we were allowed to challenge it. We did. And now we’ve won an important victory with the court’s decision that this unfair burden on taxpayers was unconstitutional.”

George Latimer Released the Following Statement

“The elimination of the MTA Payroll Tax will directly relieve Westchester taxpayers significantly,” Latimer said in a statement. ”Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we were able to eliminate the mobility tax for 25,000 small businesses in Westchester alone and now that the MTA has begun to stabilize its finances by controlling costs rather then balancing the books on the backs of suburban taxpayers, we can deliver real relief to Westchester residents. I hope that with this new ruling we will be able to finally pass the legislation that I have introduced that fully repeal the MTA Payroll Tax.”

Statement by Businessman and State Senate Candidate Bob Cohen on MTA Payroll Tax Being Deemed Unconstitutional

“This is great news for Westchester small businesses and other entities that have been unfairly burdened by this unconstitutional tax. This tax was passed by short-sighted Albany politicians, including my opponent George Latimer, who think new and higher taxes are the answer to every problem. This MTA payroll tax has cost Westchester businesses millions of dollars and an untold number of jobs. Mr. Latimer’s tax has been ridden out of town on a rail.”

Hypocrisy Alert: Latimer Votes for MTA Payroll Tax

Now Cheers its Unconstitutionality

Westchester–Aug. 23 …State Assemblyman George Latimer (D-WFP) voted to create the MTA Payroll Tax in 2008, which has unfairly cost Westchester businesses and other entities tens of millions of dollars and killed an untold number of jobs and business growth that could have been created with that money, the campaign of businessman, staunch MTA Payroll Tax opponent, and state senate Bob Cohen (R-I-C) today noted.

But today, Mr. Latimer is cheering as a victory yesterday’s court ruling that the MTA Payroll Tax — which, again, Mr. Latimer supported — is unconstitutional.

“Has George Latimer no shame in his election-year rhetoric,?” asked Cohen spokesman Bill O’Reilly. “Does he have that little regard for the intelligence of taxpayers? What Mr. Latimer is doing today is akin to the arsonist cheering as the fire is put out. It’s an insult to those who have suffered under his tax.”

The Cohen campaign said that Mr. Latimer’s incontrovertible record as a high taxer cannot be whitewashed in an election year.

“No Westchester elected official running for office this year has as bad a record on taxes — specifically property taxes — as George Latimer,” Mr. O’Reilly continued. “Mr. Latimer raised our property taxes 46% as a county legislator; he fought to overturn New Rochelle’s tax cap; he opposed Governor Cuomo’s 2% property tax cap, and he voted to create the MTA Payroll Tax. Those are the facts. Nothing Mr. Latimer says now can change his voting history.