Fare hikes loom after MTA payroll tax ruled unconstitutional

Commuters fear that the weight of the MTA's budget problems will fall upon their shoulders.After the controversial payroll tax was ruled unconstitutional by a state

PEEKSKILL - Commuters fear that the weight of the MTA's budget problems will fall upon their shoulders.

After the controversial payroll tax was ruled unconstitutional by a state Supreme Court judge yesterday, the MTA stands to lose $1.2 billion.

The tax was designed to close the agency's $1.8 billion budget gap by collecting 34 cents for every $100 of payroll from employers in the service area.

MTA officials say the removal of the more than $1.2 billion in revenue they would get from the tax would be catastrophic, and they could be forced to make extreme service cuts and raise fares. The MTA has vowed to appeal the ruling.

"Well [fares] seem to go up every year so I'm getting used to it," said one commuter. "I think it would be nicer if more of my ticket was a tax write off."

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