State Sen. Lee Zeldin, along with Assemblymen Dean Murray and Phil Boyle, held a rally Thursday night on Patchogue's Main Street to celebrate the state's repeal of the MTA payroll tax.
The tax, which was raising $1.4 billion this year for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was levied against small businesses, non-profit organizations and schools.
“When the MTA asked for a bailout – ‘sure whatever you need,” said Zeldin (R-Shirley), imitating the state government’s response. “Here is $1.4 billion dollars of money that is spent by employers to employ people in the height of a recession. Here’s money from hard working small business owners, from non-profits, from schools both public and private and so many others.
"Here is there hard working money – out of the pockets of Long Islanders that may live on the East End, out of the pockets of those who may live in Rockland," added Zeldin, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate to repeal the payroll tax. "Here’s money out of their pockets because you can’t keep your fiscal house in order.’
The tax, which initially cost employers 34 cents for every $100 in payroll has been completely wiped out amongst business’ that have payrolls under $1.25 million, along with non-profits. Private schools are now exempt from the tax and public schools, which were previously taxed but later reimbursed, will not have to pay the tax up front.
“We all saw that that was wrong and we made a pledge to each other that we were going to knock on tens of thousands of doors in the 3rd Senate District," Zeldin said. "We were going to talk to our friends and our neighbors."
Businesses with a payroll between $1.25 million and $1.5 million now will only be taxed 11 cents per $100 in payroll and those businesses with payrolls under $1.75 million will be taxed 23 cents per $100.
Zeldin, who also worked to repeal the salt water fishing license on Long Island, took the time to celebrate that as well.
“I said that if I was elected I would do everything in my power to try and repeal the salt water fishing license fee – and by the end of March it was gone.”
Zeldin, Murray, Boyle celebrated triumphantly amongst constituents and supporters at Zeldin’s headquarters in Patchogue Thursday night.
“This is our victory rally,” Zeldin said. “This is our night to celebrate a lot of hard work and I want to say thank you.”