Paterson Wants Transit Bailout; Takes Swipe at Rush

Vows to lock up legislature over fare hike

Gov. David Paterson upped the ante on state lawmakers Thursday morning, threatening to "make everybody stay right there" until a deal is reached to bail out the MTA. 

The governor said he's giving the legislature a "time out" to "cool off" but vowed to call a special closed session if necessary.

"I'm gonna give them a week to think it over," Paterson said at the ABNY breakfast at the Hilton.   

A framework for a bailout that included a $.50 taxi surcharge fell apart this week after state senators objected to a $1.5 billion dollar payroll tax. 

The payroll tax would affect every business in the 12 counties served by the MTA.  

Without a deal, lawmakers are left to squabble over which unpopular tax hike to impose. Kathryn Wylde of the NYC Partnership told News 4 New York the payroll tax isn't as bad as a crumbling subway system.  
Current proposals would result in across-the-board fare increases averaging 23 percent.
Subway and buses fares would rise from $2 to $2.50 on May 31.

Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North fares, and bridge and tunnel tolls, would go up later.

Gov. Paterson also took a chance Thursday to take a dig at conservative talk show host  Rush Limbaugh's decision to flee New York over proposed tax increases.  Sensing a chance to strike, Paterson joked that if he'd known, "I would have thought about the taxes earlier.'"

Word of the zinger filtered back to Limbaugh a short time later after a call from WNBC.  In his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh responded to the Paterson comments:

"Gov. Paterson, do you know that you have an exodus on your hands from Long Island and for a long time you've had an exodus on your hands from Long Island moving to southern states like North Carolina and Florida because they're sick and tired of the property taxes, the state taxes, the city taxes, and all the other taxes?  So you going to be happy that other taxpayers decide to leave New York, or just me?  Just me?  What an honor, what an honor."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us