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Tuesday Headlines: Albany Budget Battle Edition

12:03 AM EDT on March 14, 2023

Legislators rallied in Albany for better MTA service. Photo: Dave Colon

The legislative elves of Albany have been busy putting together their responses to Gov. Hochul's proposed budget, a treasured step in the yearly budget dance. On Monday night, we finally learned some details.

Hochul's budget proposed to raise fares and increase the payroll mobility tax; the counterproposal released by the state Senate does neither.

Streetsblog's Dave Colon has watched the budget fight with bated breath, seeing as how the governor's proposal would fill the MTA's massive budget gap, albeit in a ham-handed fashion that may piss off Mayor Adams and would fail to do more than keep the lights on.

Here's what Colon learned late last night: The Senate didn't tear up the Hochul's transit proposals, but it did suggest a different approach to MTA funding.

For one, the lawmakers seek to take a giant step towards free city buses with a proposal to hand the MTA $50 million to fund a five-borough pilot on 10 routes.

Senators also managed to find the $350 million the MTA says it needs to avoid a fare hike. As an alternative to the payroll tax hike, the legislators propose a few revenue raisers, including raising the franchise surcharge tax, which is a corporate tax rate applied to businesses in the MTA region, and levying an additional 50-cent surcharge on Uber and Lyft rides, which already provide $2.75 per trip to the MTA capital fund.

Assailed by suburban legislators of both parties, the payroll mobility tax hike faced heat in the city as well of late after Daniel Altschuler, the co-director of immigrant advocacy organization Make the Road, also suggested Hochul drop it in favor of a tax hike on the state's high earners.

State Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris downplayed the differences.

"The governor had a menu of revenue generating options, and we have a menu of revenue generating options," said Gianaris (D-Queens). "Both plans add up to the same number, we just get there from different places."

The Queens pol made no mention of another proposal — reported by NY1's Zack Fink — to create a residential parking permit system in the five boroughs. The proposal would require a permit to park overnight on city streets, according to Fink.

We'll obviously be covering multiple stories today.

In other news:

    • Hell Gate's Chris Robbins and Patch's Peter Senzamici wrote up Sunday's anti-congestion pricing fracas, which featured one participant who crudely, inaccurately and offensively likened our staff to violent, fascist thugs. Ouch.
    • Several outlets piled on coverage of the death of Andrew Cuomo's "wrong-way" LaGuardia AirTrain, including us. (NYT, NY Post, Gothamist, Daily News)
    • The grieving widower of Eugene Schroeder, killed by a hit-and-run driver last Thursday while biking in Brooklyn, remembered his husband as "the best person in the world." (CBS New York)
    • Disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo keeps his remaining $9 million campaign war chest at Signature Bank, which the state took over on Sunday to prevent a bank run. (City & State)
    • Council Member Sandra Ung wants street vendors out of downtown Flushing to make more room for pedestrians, but makes no mention of getting rid of the cars. (The City, Gothamist)
    • A motorcyclist severely injured an elderly pedestrian in Manhattan. (Upper East Site)
    • Manhattan Community Board 7 will take up a call for DOT to install protected bike lanes on every 10 blocks of crosstown streets in the district on Tuesday. (West Side Rag)
    • Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo defends the "15-minute city." (Financial Times)
    • A California court ruled in favor of a state law classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors. (NYT)

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