Last week, the legislature convened in Albany for anExtraordinary Session to take up a set of issues that were gearedtoward closing this year’s budget gap and reducing the deficitlooming next year.Governor Cuomo constructed a legislative package that offered awin-win scenario for people in Bay Ridge and all across Brooklyn -a cut to income taxes and a roll-back of the disastrous MTA PayrollTax that has bankrupted our schools, and forced jobs out of ourcommunity.Her, in the 60th Assembly District, you’re more likely to see adinosaur walking down Fifth Avenue than a millionaire. That’s whypassing tax cuts for the middle class was so important to ourcommunity – the people that will be affected by the tax codechanges are our neighbors, shop owners, friends and family.Even high earners will pay less in taxes next year than they did in2011. These are the common-sense measures we need in stategovernment to stop hemorrhaging population like New York has hadover the past decade.Perhaps the biggest victory for Brooklyn taxpayers, however, wasthe drastic scale-down of the MTA payroll tax. This is a fee thatprevents employers from bringing in new employees and forcesschools to choose between paying for teachers and funding vitalcurriculum.Here in Bay Ridge, we all know that no amount of revenue will everbe enough for the mismanaged MTA coffers. The legislation passedthis week will not only alleviate the burden on nearly 80 percentof the business owners that were paying this tax, but it willfinally address the inequity and injustice regarding payments fromschools.Previously, public schools were being reimbursed for their paymentswhile private and parochial schools were left to shoulder theburden. Now, all schools will be fully exempt from the payroll tax,providing overdue fair treatment for private and publicschools.Last month, I hosted a series of public forums that gathered inputfrom local businesses, organizations, commuters and taxpayers abouthow the tax affected their lives, and I am happy to say that ourvoices have been heard loud and clear.The next step is pushing for a full repeal of the tax, and I planon using last week’s momentum to see this through until theend.With confidence in government at an all-time low, the bipartisanaccomplishments made in last week’s session serve as a reminderthat government works best when we listen to the will of thepeople.That’s why I do everything I can to make myself available to myconstituents –we can only succeed if we continue to work together!
Nicole Malliotakis represents the 60th A.D. in Bay Ridge andStaten Island in the New York State Assembly.