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State bailout will not reform MTA: Padavan

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State Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) defended his vote against the bailout of the MTA last week, saying he and his Republican colleagues offered an alternative plan to the one crafted by Democratic legislators, but it was rejected.

He was one of only three senators from the city — all Republicans — who opposed the legislation, which prevented the agency from adopting a so−called “doomsday budget” that would have increased the cash fare for subways and buses by 50 cents and hiked monthly MetroCard passes by $22.

“You have to restructure the MTA, otherwise they’re gonna do what they’ve always done — get into a crisis,” he said. “You don’t reform the pig by feeding it a bit more.”

The senator claimed the enacted legislation is shortsighted and predicted the state would have to revisit the issue again in two years.

He said there was nothing in the legislation that restructures or gives way to overseeing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He was also opposed to the $2.6 billion bailout because of the payroll tax and the provision that lets the titles of chief executive officer and chairman of the board to be held by the same person.

He said the payroll tax, expected to raise $1.5 billion. will hit nonprofits and private schools in his district hard, forcing them to lay off workers and hike tuition.

Padavan said there were other ways to trim the MTA’s expenses and that Republicans had a plan that was shot down.

He said the agency has “400 people whose job is PR” and those jobs could be cut.

The senator said the state could have gone after Medicaid fraud and collected taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to help trim the MTA’s deficit.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the political arm of Senate Democrats, attacked Padavan and the other two city Senate Republicans – state Sens. Martin Golden (R−Brooklyn) and Andrew Lanza (R−Staten Island – for voting against the bailout and blamed them for not fixing the MTA when they were the majority party.

“To point the finger at the Republicans ... is somewhat disingenuo­us,” Padavan said, noting the MTA was established in 1969 and there had been four Democratic governors during that span, but there was no reform.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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