Catholic Schools Relieved of MTA Tax

Published on December 7th, 2011

By Jim Cultrara

In an unusual special session concluded earlier this evening (Dec. 7), New York State lawmakers approved far-reaching legislation to rewrite the tax code, stimulate the economy, and provide relief to communities ravaged by this year’s storms. Included in the agreement was a permanent exemption of religious and independent schools from the MTA Payroll Tax imposed in 2009.

The MTA Payroll Tax had cost religious and independent schools located in the 12-county MTA region in and around New York City approximately $8 million each of the last two years while their public school counterparts were reimbursed for the tax. While the Assembly and Senate had previously enacted differing measures to remedy this injustice, today’s action, with the support of Governor Cuomo, brings final resolution to the issue.

While we are very grateful for the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Senator Skelos, Speaker Silver and several key lawmakers, it is important that you take the time to call, write or e-mail the Governor and both your Assembly and Senate representatives to thank them for their support. You can find your representative’s contact information here.

The specific language of the exemption takes effect April 1, and applies to any “nonpublic elementary and secondary school that provides instruction in grade one or above.”

Thank you for your help over the last two years of advocacy. The thousands of e-mails, phone calls, rallies and meetings with legislators has paid off and demonstrates what is possible if we are persistent and work together. While this action does not resolve the far greater funding crisis facing our schools, it is an important step forward. It is with even greater optimism that we can move ahead and advocate on the other critical issues before us including resolving the enormous deficiency in Mandated Services / CAP reimbursement; seeking funds to meet the critical needs of our schools; and providing financial assistance to help families pay tuition.

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