The Slow Ebbing of the MTA Mobility - With Some Sleight of Hand Attached

Never forget that government is a "money taking operation" not a "money making operation" and should come with the expectation that elected officials will be precise stewards of that money.

Many are aware of my speaking of - and fighting against - the egregious MTA Mobility Tax passed by the NY State Legislature three years ago. This is onerous  tax of 34 cents per hundred dollars levied upon each payroll in the twelve county MTA region. That included every level of government and schools - which translated into a higher property tax bill; every business - which translated into higher costs for goods and services; and even not for profits trying to help our hungry, our children, and our needy - which translated into pure government sponsored cruelty.

You may have read of some recent success in mitigating this tax, whether that be in news reports or that fan favorite - political mailings done at your expense. Well intentioned as this all may be, much more needs to be done to eliminate this onerous tax.

Our entrepreneurs, those self employed individuals who provide much of our economies backbone, are still being victimized. They are still being lumped in with companies and municipalities with annual payrolls exceeding $1.25 million! Why you ask? Well you see these small business people do not have any lobbyists working for them.

The conversation about exempting public libraries from this MTA tax, while a truly noble effort, also serves to crystallize the shell game often perpetrated by politicians upon our citizens, and it is offered to keep you transparently apprised of what is going on in your government.

Here is a classic example of how certain politicians actually believe they are part of the solution yet are truly the problem. Many have heard me take apart the political scams by using the example of the taxpayer's left pocket paying the right pocket, essentially emptying both your pockets. Well, here we go again, I am sure much to the consternation of a Westchester assemblyperson.

The "Chutzpah Award" goes to Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Ossining. Her recounting of the MTA Mobility tax on libraries was reported to include the inability of the State legislature to exempt libraries from the MTA tax yet BUT she says not to worry ... the Legislature included $1.2 million in the 2012 budget to reimburse them! I guess we should all be grateful!!

BUT ... here is the scam. You pay your library taxes - that includes that MTA tax - from your left pocket; then the Legislature - the same legislature that actually implemented the MTA Mobility tax, mind you - takes $1.2 million of your tax money from your right pocket to "reimburse" the libraries for paying that MTA tax!

How is this for a novel idea ... REPEAL THE MTA TAX on libraries because ... It costs less! Instead, her logic is to pay for it TWICE! I know Ms. Galef is very happy with the value her County enjoys from the MTA; we here in Rockland get about 50 cents back for each dollar given to the MTA - the lowest rate of value in the twelve county MTA region. So it stings more on this side of the Hudson.

Ms. Galef is just one more politician who chooses to ignore that neither she nor the Legislature gives or reimburses anything - taxpaying citizens and businesses do that. Thank you, Ms. Galef, for giving us another political Ponzi scheme that makes us pay twice for the same service ... and having the chutzpah to tell us it is a good thing!

I will leave this simple thought - Whenever a politician tells you they are going to "give" you something - put your hands in your pocket and hold onto your money UNLESS that politician is writing a personal check! Government is not a "money making operation" but rather a "money taking operation", and we all need to ensure that job is being done precisely, exactly, and in service to the true funder of government - You!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rockland County Legislator Ed Day April 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Good letter in the paper today, Richard, and actually am just doing what I have been doing since I became a legislator 6 years ago - exposing nonsensical "logic" such as this whenever or wherever I see it. Am just a bit high energy, my friend! By the way, do you like the "NOT IN SERVICE" destination sign on the MTA bus? It just fits the MTA relationship with Rockland perfectly!
BenRound April 30, 2012 at 05:26 PM
And what have you voted against in your capacity to participate in Rockland's budget process? What cuts to the bloated $700 million budget have you made? Are you in favor of the proposed business killing sales tax addition or do you have the moxie to trim a budget? As you say, the businesses are the backbone of our economy. You're drum beating would be acceptable if you'd demonstrate how you're not part of the problem in your own county.
Rockland County Legislator Ed Day April 30, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Certainly fair questions, Ben, but It sounds as if you may be a friend from Westchester because if you were following matters here in Rockland you would likely know that I have taken numerous steps to implement exactly what you reference. I did not support the additional sales tax; I submitted a successful effort that reduced deputy positions in County departments; and as a matter of fact I sponsored a sales tax cut on gasoline only to have that successful legislation vetoed by the County Executive. Additionally myself and other colleagues submitted recommendations to cut the fat in government, most notably the Tourism department, only to have that declined also. My voting record is available to you on-line (http://www.co.rockland.ny.us/Legislature/LMinutes/legisminutes.htm) and (http://www.co.rockland.ny.us/Legislature/BioDay.htm) so you may get more comfortable with my motivation, which certainly is not drum beating. Rather this is merely pointing out a sleight of hand approach to governance that costs you, the taxpayer, twice ... and yes, you can mark that down as another effort to cut Rockland ... and Westchester ... taxes. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the matter and hopefully I addressed your concerns.
Scott Walters May 02, 2012 at 02:15 PM
And probably winning,....lol
Scott Walters May 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Keep on keeping on, Ed!!!


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