Crains New York Reports: In the hotly contested eastern Queens state Senate race between Democratic Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich, one of the key voting blocs will be Orthodox Jews, a population with a large presence in Far Rockaway, Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Forest Hills. So it’s not surprising that Mr. Addabbo took out a full-page ad on this week in the Queens Jewish Week, a biweekly.
An Insider reader points out, though, that the top-line accomplishment Mr. Addabbo cites in the ad is his 2011 “removal of the MTA [Metropolitan Transit Authority] payroll tax for private schools and yeshivas.” Left unsaid is that Mr. Addabbo was part of a 32-vote bloc of Senate Democrats that passed the broader 12-county, 0.34% payroll tax in 2009 to fund the MTA capital plan.In 2011, as part of an agreement spearheaded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that restructured that state’s tax code, private schools and yeshivas were exempted from the tax, which was highly unpopular in the Orthodox Jewish community. Republicans took control of the Senate from Democrats in the 2010 election.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Addabbo, Jen Galvin, did not dispute that Mr. Addabbo initially supported the payroll tax. “There was a time when more taxes were really needed, but Joe also supported the removal of the MTA payroll tax for private schools and yeshivas.”
“It’s the first thing listed [in the ad], but it’s the first among equals,” Ms. Galvin added. Other accomplishments listed include landing funds for after-hours bus services and tuition assistance.
Public schools were already exempt from the MTA tax. The new exemption for private schools and yeshivas costs the MTA $70 million annually. State funding was pledged to make up the difference.