Following the launch of an online petition signed by over 2,000 commuters, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and a dozen local officials joined with commuters, business owners and residents to rally against New York State’s plan to increase the MTA Payroll Mobility Tax while cutting Long Island Rail Road service.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino stated, “The MTA must immediately restore service cuts, and State lawmakers must stop their plans to increase the MTA Payroll Tax. Higher payroll taxes will only hurt taxpayers, businesses, governments and self-employed individuals at a time when they can least afford it. Between out of control property taxes, high utility bills, soaring interest rates and record inflation, Long Island residents are already stretched thin! A payroll tax increase is the last thing we need!”
The Governor’s proposed budget includes an $800 million MTA Mobility Payroll Tax Hike proposal planned for employers, local governments and self-employed individuals. From eliminating eastbound trains during rush hour and increasing the time between trains to making individual commutes longer, the MTA’s new schedule is detrimental to a community that already faces decreased train service. On the north shore alone, nearly 2,000 commuters have signed a petition against changes to LIRR service on the Oyster Bay Line. What’s worse, these service cuts come as the Governor has proposed an increase to the MTA Payroll Mobility Tax. For all the above reasons, Supervisor Joseph Saladino, Councilwoman Michele Johnson, Councilwoman Vicki Walsh, Town Clerk Richard LaMarca, Receiver of Taxes Jeffrey Pravato, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, State Senators Jack Martins and Steve Rhoads, State Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz, Centre Island Village Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp, Oyster Bay Cove Mayor Charles Goulding, Upper Brookville Mayor Elliot Conway and others joined with business owners and commuters to denounce these plans.
“East Side Access was billed as a transformative project for our area and while for some that may be true, for riders on the Oyster Bay line that absolutely has not been the case. The new schedule has given riders on the Oyster Bay line less trains, longer transfer times, and significantly longer commutes each day,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor
Supervisor Jen DeSena said. “The bottom line is riders on this line were made to shoulder some of the financial burden for this project but have seen almost no advantages from it upon its completion. I am calling on the MTA and LIRR to fix this botched rollout and add service back to the Oyster Bay line that was taken away as part of the Grand Central Madison rollout.”
“The MTA has delivered a commuter crisis of its own making. Long Islanders have been sold a bill of goods. When the MTA was trying to build public support for the East Side Access and Third Track projects, it pledged shorter travel times, fewer stops and more options for our commuters. We now see that despite the nearly $15 billion that’s been spent, we have fewer trains, longer ride times, and overcrowded cars. We deserve better,” said Senator Jack Martins.
Senator Steve Rhoads stated, “Time and again Long Islanders are being told by this Governor that we have to bail out an MTA notorious for service cuts, safety concerns, scheduling issues and fiscal mismanagement. We deserve better. The MTA has lost public trust and they must be held accountable. The forensic audit we are demanding will help uncover the waste and abuse that plagues this agency and continues to rob commuters of the competent, efficient and safe transportation they deserve. Why don’t we stop the Hochul payroll taxes, congestion pricing or whatever the next gimmick will be and actually clean up the MTA? My constituents have had enough! We need a forensic audit now!”
Assemblyman Jake Blumencranz stated, “With all the increased trains, service cuts and schedule changes, the Oyster Bay line continues to be neglected and commuters are facing the consequences. It’s clear that the MTA’s priorities are upside-down and the need for a full time LIRR president is more important now than ever before. We need consistent leadership and viable funding to fix the problems commuters are facing rather than the proposed $800 million MTA Mobility Payroll Tax Hike that will only continue to take income from our residents without providing improved or increased service.”