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Jim Brennan

Jim Brennan’s Office: MTA Will Not Lose Another $170M in State Budget

1:22 PM EDT on March 25, 2011

The MTA will not lose another $170 million in budget negotiations, according to the office of Jim Brennan, who chairs the Assembly's authorities committee.

As we reported yesterday, two open issues in budget negotiations threatened $170 million in funds for the MTA. The Senate Republicans were trying to exempt schools from the payroll mobility tax, which would have cost the MTA $70 million, and the Assembly was opposed to a Cuomo plan to shift $100 million in Assembly discretionary funds to the MTA.

According to Brennan's legislative director, Lorrie Smith, the Assembly remains opposed to having its money be used for the MTA, but will find another source for that $100 million. "The MTA is not going to lose that money," she said. "Mr. Brennan's main goal here is to protect the MTA's budget." It is not clear, however, what the alternative source for that $100 million will be.

Smith also told us that the payroll tax exemption was not going to make it into any final budget. "The payroll tax, as I understand it, is off the table," said Smith, "because the Assembly is adamantly opposed to it." According to the leaked memo we reported on yesterday, the Cuomo administration is also opposed to cutting back the payroll tax in this budget.

Finally, Smith revealed that a third transit issue is keeping the transportation section of the budget from being completed: Long Island Bus, which recently cut more than half of its lines. "This is an issue that is being decided some place above us," said Smith, who knew only that negotiations were ongoing.

We have calls in with the governor and Senate Transportation Committee chair Charles Fuschillo's offices to confirm that these issues are indeed off the negotiating table.

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