LIRR riders may pay steep price for payroll tax

Politicians and business owners have heralded a judge's ruling to throw out the MTA payroll tax, but the move may come at a high cost

WOODBURY - Politicians and business owners have heralded a judge's ruling to throw out the MTA payroll tax, but the move may come at a high cost for Long Island Rail Road riders. The Citizen's Budget Commission, a nonpartisan civic association, says the LIRR would have to raise its fares by 46 percent to make up for lost revenue. The absence of the tax on business payrolls in the MTA region amounts to a $459 million budget hole, the group says. MTA board member Mitch Pally says riders will likely see costs increase, but argues that fares will not jump that high. He says the MTA has options, including raising bridge and tunnel tolls, cutting services and negotiating lower labor costs with its unions. State Sen. Jack Martins (R-7th District) insists there is no need for the MTA payroll tax, or for any increases or cuts. He says the transportation authority simply needs to better manage its finances. The MTA has appealed the judge's decision that found its payroll tax unconstitutional. Pally says no decisions will be made on cuts or hikes until the court has made its ruling.Judge rules MTA payroll tax unconstitutionalMTA vows to appeal after payroll tax is axed

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