Payroll tax pitched to pay transit debt

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A new payroll tax is being proposed to offset the state’s huge transportation debt.  The Green Justice Coalition, a group of labor unions and civic leaders, say taxes and other solutions are needed to resolve the state’s transit problems. If employers paid three-quarters of one cent for every dollar of their worker’s earnings over $100,000 dollars – The coalition says it could go a long way to alleviating the state’s Big Dig and Boston transit debt. It could also fund regional transportation authorities, like the PVTA, that advocates say are outdated and underserved.

“2002 the service was cut, driving I see a lot of people get affected, people lose their jobs, not being able to get to the babysitter or daycare.  We want to work together with the legislators and RTAs to build a sustainable system and procure better funding,” said Richard Gardner, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Springfield.

Advocates also suggest establishing a Community Infrastructure Bank that grants loans to local road, community and green technology projects. 

“Policies around transit should help create greater equity, should strengthen our local economies and communities,” said Community Labor United research policy director, Connie Razza.

Boston’s subway and bus service, the MBTA, has an overall debt of more than $5 billion dollars, the highest of any transit agency in the country.  The Big Dig accounts for most of that debt and a plan to pay it off is expected to be a major topic in January.

“It really has to be a comprehensive wide plan, it has to be about the kinds of investments we know are necessary to keep the economy growing and that’s what the team has been working on.  We owe that plan early next year and we’ll be ready,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

 

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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