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MTA Tax Cuts A Welcome Holiday Gift For Area Businesses

PEEKSKILL, NY – Small business owners got a welcome holiday gift from Albany this week when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law eliminating a tax that funded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for some and reducing it for others.

The tax cut will save money for nearly 290,000 small businesses and more than 410,000 self-employed New York residents in the seven counties, including Westchester, where public transportation is provided by the MTA.

Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deborah Milone praised the decision to reduce the tax, saying it had been an unfair burden on Northern Westchester businesses.

“This is definitely going to benefit the small businesses,” Milone said. “This was a terrible burden on small business owners. And most of these business owners didn’t get any benefit from the MTA since they don’t commute into the city.”

The tax will be eliminated for small businesses, which are defined as businesses with an annual payroll between $10,000 and $1.25 million by the governor’s official website.

The elimination of the tax affects just over 25,000 businesses in Westchester County. Businesses with payrolls between $1.25 and $1.75 million will have their payroll taxes cut by either one third or two thirds, according to the governor’s website.

District 90 Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D/Ossining) said she supported the changes, and said that the payroll tax reduction will positively impact all public, private and parochial schools, which will no longer have to wait to be reimbursed by the state after paying the tax.

“Lifting this onerous and unfair financial burden will significantly improve the business climate in New York,” Galef said. 

District 40 New York State Senator Greg Ball (R/Patterson), an outspoken critic of the tax since its passage in 2009, also praised the tax cuts but said repealing the payroll tax was just the beginning. He is continuing his demands for a full forensic audit of the MTA’s accounting practices.

“After years of leading the charge to repeal the MTA payroll tax, I am thrilled with the governor’s plan,” Ball said. “With that being said, I will continue with my demands for forensic accounting to protect blue collar families like mine who are struggling.”

Business Council of Westchester president Marsha Gordon said the repeal was a promising sign that the bipartisan gridlock in Albany might finally be abating.

“This change will provide real meaningful relief to our members and business community, paving the way for job creation and economic development," Gordon said.

The governor’s website said the new law will have no impact on MTA funding as the state will compensate it for any revenue lost due to the tax cut.


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