Nicole Gelinas has a piece in the New York Post today skewering state Senate Republicans for passing a bill that would repeal the payroll tax in the Metropolitan Transportation Region without offering a solid plan for closing the holes in the MTA operating and capital budgets.  Her view is summed up in the headline: “State Senate’s pathetic posturing.”

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Nicole writes:

If the GOP were serious, it would address union-labor costs. In three years, MTA pension and health costs will rise 30 percent. It’s not just a city issue; suburban railroad workers enjoy benefits not available in the private sector.

But in Wednesday’s debate [before passing the tax repeal bill], senators talked everything from MTA “mob infiltration” to “criminal accounting” to whether tax-paying is “patriotic.” Nobody said that the MTA’s workers should pay more for health care, saving $150 million, or that pensions for new workers should be less generous.

The Senate GOP’s timidity when it comes to MTA employees is especially noteworthy given the intense focus on the payroll tax issue by senators from Long Island, home of all those notoriously “disabled” LIRR employees.

Do Republican senators whose constituents foot the bill for the MTA’s high labor costs actually believe it would be politically unpopular to take on these unions?

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E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

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