Governor Signs MTA Tax Relief in West Hempstead [VIDEO]

Gov. Cuomo holds press conference at Cornwell Avenue School Monday morning.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited West Hempstead Monday morning to sign legislation that will bring tax relief to schools and small businesses.

Cuomo was joined by fellow state politicians, local leaders, school officials, members of the media and residents inside Cornwell Avenue School on Dec. 12. There, he spoke about the MTA payroll tax, which has burdened schools and businesses since it was passed in 2009.

Last week, the legislature came back for an "extraordinary session," Cuomo explained, during which they passed a jobs and tax package intended to stimulate the economy. It includes a program to create jobs by investing in road and infrastructure repairs and tax reforms. The latter includes relief from the MTA payroll tax, which was costing the West Hempstead school district alone, roughly $90,000 per year.

Cuomo signed legislation at Cornwell Avenue School that would exempt private and public schools from paying these taxes to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, while also reducing the amount small businesses pay.

"What we said in New York, in the legislature, is, 'We're not going to wait for Washington to come solve our problems for us ... we're going to step up to the plate and solve the problem for ourselves, because this is New York," Cuomo said.

He added: "I am proud of what this government did ... how they came together in the face of all these challenges, all this dilemma and chaos, and put politics aside. They made tough decisions and came up with a real package that's going to lead this state forward."

Check back for Patch's video coverage of the press conference later today.

Chris Wendt December 15, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Whoa! Re: "Cuomo...spoke about the MTA payroll tax, which has burdened schools and businesses since it was passed in 2009." "...the legislature...passed a ...tax package intended to stimulate the economy. It includes ...relief from the MTA payroll tax, which was costing the West Hempstead school district alone, roughly $90,000 per year." News 12 quoted the West Hempstead Superintendent: "John Hogan, superintendent of the West Hempstead School District, says it amounted to some $80,000 per year. Hogan says it's "exciting" for the district that the tax has been eliminated because it can hang on to a teacher or even re-hire one who has been laid off." But, there is a huge, dirty secret not revealed in this hype. NY State has been reimbursing public school districts for the MTA Tax they have paid. That tax is completely revenue neutral in a school district's budget! So, although West Hempstead will no longer have to shell-out $90,000 for the MTA Tax, at the same time they will lose the $90,000 reimbursement from the State. So there will be no teacher hired as a result, and the excitement is all for naught in our school districts. West Hempstead tax payers should get excite that their $210,000 Superintendent is unaware of this.
Tara Conry December 16, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Chris, if you listen to the video report we did say that the schools were being reimbursed.
Chris Wendt December 16, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Tara, the video report was well done. And yes, the Asistant Superintendent for Business did correct the false impression that the MTA tax had cost the West Hempstead School District $90,000 per year. Unfortunately, the Superintendent played-up the tax as a cost burden upon the district, especially by his overly embellished comment quoted in Newsday, that repeal of the MTA tax would allow the West Hempstead School District to retain a teacher or recall one from furlough. What I called a "dirty big secret" was actually in referrence to the fact that (using Dean Skelos' numbers at 1:10 in your video), some 72,000 LI businesses have been paying the MTA Tax, but, unlike the State's 700 school districts, those businesses had not been reimbursed. What ever happened to the concept of "equal protection under the law" ensconced in the Constitution?


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