Some details of MTA bailout still uncertain

Westchester County Executive Andy Spano says he will fight the new Metropolitan Transportation Authority rescue plan because he objects to taxing local businesses.

The bailout, which would total $1.7 billion, is designed to avoid MTA fare increases of nearly 25 percent, as well as service cuts and layoffs. Officials say the rescue plan would cover the current MTA deficit, as well as some capital funding.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Malcolm Smith met with key senators from Westchester and Long Island Monday night and said he secured their support of the tentative agreement. Spano says he refuses to put the burden on employers. Employers within the MTA service region would pay 34 cents per $100 of payroll in Westchester and on Long Island and 25 cents per $100 of payroll in Orange, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

"Why do we constantly bail out agencies that are inefficiently run?" Spano says. "There should be relief on MTA fares, but once again, it should not be on the backs of our taxpayers, residents, non-profits and businesses."

Some residents believe the payroll taxes are a better way to acquire the money than fare hikes.

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