Daily Bedford: Senator Ball Urges External Audit of Mta

Greg Ball

December 16, 2011

by Alex Birsh

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y—In a press conference just feet from a Metro-North train at the Mount Kisco Train Station, Senator Greg Ball (R-C, Patterson) called for a full-fledged external audit on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday. The plea occurred days after the MTA Payroll Tax reform bill was passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, eliminating the tax for schools and small businesses.

While he understood the importance of the reform bill passing to minimize the tax, Ball is pushing for a full repeal, and what will help that reach fruition is a forensic audit on the MTA that would prove the service has acted in “criminal” ways, he said.

Ball recognized the previous audit of the MTA by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, but Ball is hoping the comptroller can give way to an outside source for a deeper inspection.

“There has not been an independent forensic accounting from outside the MTA, and that’s necessary,” Ball explained. “The comptroller himself has the authority to do it, and he needs to subcontract it out and find an independent private sector firm that can forensically account the MTA’s books.”

A full-fledged repeal would be welcome for communities like Carmel, one of the municipalities still underneath the MTA tax burden. “I’m pleased there was a partial repeal. But we need a total repeal. It’s ridiculous that our residents have to shoulder the burdens of the MTA shortfalls. It’s wrong,” said Carmel Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt.

Ball, though, noted that the success in rescinding much of the MTA Tax, roughly 80% he said, could potentially go against repealing the whole tax.

“What I’m worrying about is without the many business owners, self employed, and non-profits who don’t have to pay, so much of the fervor we had behind repealing the MTA tax will be gone,” he said. “That’s why we have to work as a community, with our municipal officials, to keep the pressure strong.”

The governor’s website claims the reform law already signed will save money for nearly 290,000 small businesses and more than 410,000 self-employed New York residents in the seven counties. (ARTICLE)