Service of I Won’t Pay for That: I’m Not My Neighbor’s Keeper

February 27th, 2023

Categories: Cheap, Disaster, Emergency, Stingy, Taxes

Natural disaster
Image by Barroa from Pixabay 

As it should be the taxes of parents who send their children to private school cover the cost of public school. Citizens who never call the fire department pay the freight for those who must. Those cared for in private hospitals pay for public ones.

When 50+ inches of snow fell in Buffalo, NY last December, and not a flake hit the streets of NYC, nobody squawked at the cost of helping with the cleanup. And on a national level, do citizens in Hawaii whine about FEMA funds sent to hurricane victims in Florida or Louisiana?

Subway cars
Image by RGY23 from Pixabay 

Yet, according to Ben Brachfeld of, “A group of suburban lawmakers are urging their Albany colleagues to restrict proposed payroll tax increases, meant to shore up the finances of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to businesses in the city — arguing the suburbs are already subject to ‘onerous’ taxes without service levels equivalent to residents of the five boroughs.” The tax, proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul, would be 0.5% from 0.34%.

According to Brachfeld, “In their letter, the suburban legislators suggest that municipalities outside the city should be exempted not only from the tax increase, but from the tax writ large, since it would post a levy on public funds used to run such municipalities. They also say community colleges and hospitals should be exempt from the payroll tax.”

Brachfeld reported that the levy impacts businesses in NYC’s five boroughs, two LI counties, five upstate counties that Metro-North serves. It has irritated the legislators in these places since  2009 when the tax was ratified. According to Brachfeld, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said on WCBS radio, “It [the tax] would only apply to the biggest employers. Only 5% of all businesses would be subjected to this little incremental payroll mobility tax.”

Mayor Adams isn’t a fan either. “He says the city, not the suburbs, are getting shafted, as the Big Apple is the state’s only municipality being asked to contribute new annual subsidies to the MTA, to the tune of over $500 million per year, in addition to the payroll tax increase and fare hike,” according to Brachfeld.

I envision a child’s game of hot potato: Who will end up footing the bill when the music ends? Should suburban municipalities or their constituents who may use the MTA’s buses and subways when they work or visit NYC also pay for some?  Shouldn’t we be proud of the legacy in this country of helping those who need it when disaster strikes even if we are not directly impacted by the emergency?

Image by RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay 

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4 Responses to “Service of I Won’t Pay for That: I’m Not My Neighbor’s Keeper”

  1. Martha T Takayama Said:

    If the levy impacts businesses in NYC’s five boroughs, it seems only fair that two LI counties, five upstate counties that Metro-North serves and suburban municipalities or their constituents who may use the MTA’s buses and subways when they work or visit NYC also pay some tax to support these services. The greater public benefits from them.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree. I don’t live in Long Island and visit very seldom these days but am glad that there is a new service that takes Long Islanders to the east side of Manhattan via the new tunnel/service. Any service that makes it easier for some is of benefit to us all.

  3. lucrezia Said:

    There would be a lot less grousing about helping others in distress if those in charge of municipal finances took time and trouble respecting the public purse. Responsible spending should be enforced, especially in areas of travel and entertainment. Limits should be set with the governmental employee responsible for extras. Our state senator is an example of the ideal legislator. Not only does much of his legislative activity concern itself with driving down unnecessary costs forcing residents out of their homes, but he puts a great deal of money where his mouth is by running food drives for the needy throughout the district. More of such politicians who keep the reason they are elected in mind and act accordingly, the less grumbling over coming to the aid of neighbors in distress.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There are pockets of money representing citizen cheaters who receive benefits for which they are not qualified. With this money retrieved states would have money to support crucial industries and initiatives in cities, suburbs and deep dish country. Politicians should pressure businesses to provide services that don’t want to invest in communities with small populations that have no access to high or low speed internet much less mobile phone connectivity. Simultaneously they abandoned old fashioned phones taking three + weeks to restore connectivity after storms.

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