WEST HEMPSTEAD - Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) was in Nassau County today to sign legislation that reduces the MTA payroll tax on small businesses. Signed into law two years ago, the tax had been a costly expense for small companies and school districts on Long Island, which were forced to pay a percentage of their payroll to cover MTA costs. 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. The bill Cuomo signed today will go into effect on Jan. 1. After then, no school, public or private, will be subject to the tax, and small businesses with 25 or less employees will be exempt, too.At least 70,000 businesses on Long Island will benefit from the change, although larger corporations will still have to pay.The governor says MTA will still get its funding, but that it will come from different sources.

To watch extended video of Gov. Cuomo signing the payroll tax bill, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select 'iO Extra.'State lawmakers set to vote on tax code overhaul