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Mt. Pleasant Businesses Enjoy MTA Payroll Tax Cut

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Michael Phillip, owner and operator of Valhalla News in Valhalla, was pleased to hear of the new tax break that businesses in Westchester will be receiving.

“It sounds great,” Phillip said. “Any time small business can get some relief on taxes is great.”

Local businesses will be receiving a tax break after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law this week that would eliminate a payroll tax that funded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for some and reduce it for others. The tax cut will save money for nearly 290,000 small businesses and more than 410,000 self-employed New York residents in the seven counties, including Westchester, where public transportation is provided by the MTA.

The tax will be eliminated for small businesses, which are defined as businesses with an annual payroll between $10,000 and $1.25 million by the governor’s official website.  The elimination of the tax affects just over 25,000 businesses in Westchester County.  Businesses with payrolls between $1.25 and $1.75 million will have their payroll taxes cut by either one third or two thirds.

Phillip, a resident of Rockland County, said he frequently uses the trains for personal transportation but had no idea why they would tax businesses near the MTA lines. However, he said it made sense given Westchester’s reputation for high taxes.

“They are always looking to tax on anything they can, especially here in Westchester,” Phillip said.

Mario Rossi, owner and operator of Sky Star Jewelry in Pleasantville, said the old tax law just did not seem reasonable.

“We’re always willing to pay our fair tax but to tax for the MTA was not fair,” Rossi said. “And especially to add that burden to small businesses when so many of them today are 50-50 whether or not they are going to continue to survive in this economy,”

All public and private elementary and secondary schools are exempt from the payroll tax under the new law as well. Under the old law schools had to pay the tax up front before being reimbursed for it.

The governor’s website said the new law will have no impact on MTA funding as the state will compensate it for any revenue lost due to the tax cut.

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