Johnson and Martins Debate MTA Bailout

Part two of five part debate focuses on MTA bailout and payroll tax.

Seventh state senatorial district candidates Mineola Mayor Jack Martins, R,I,C, - Mineola, and incumbent state Sen. Craig Johnson, D - Port Washington, squared off Monday afternoon in a News 12 debate in Woodbury moderated by Doug Geed.

Patch will be bringing you coverage of the debate over the course of five days, focusing on a different debate topic each day.

A high point of debate and anger from residents is focused on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a payroll tax designed to bailout the struggling agency.

Martins said the MTA "has been allowed to become the black hole of New York State government," while it has implemented service cuts to Port Washington, Great Neck, and Manhasset. He believes that the "right leadership" is needed to force the agency to "live within their means" and "make things work."

"They've had their fill and taxpayers simply can't afford to continue to provide them with what they have in the past."

"Mass transit is the lifeblood of our economy," Johnson said, describing the district as one full of commuters. He again pointed to past Legislatures who "(allowed) the MTA and (told) the MTA the only way you should pay for expenses is by borrowing money."

Johnson was the deciding vote in favor of the bailout and implementing the payroll tax, and defended his decision saying that "nobody likes bailouts but the fact is is that we were facing massive fare hikes in order to prevent the bailout and that just wasn't feasible."

"If you don't do it, how are you going to fix the problem? It's not enough to say leadership, you have to provide revenue."

The seventh state senatorial district of New York includes Mineola, Port Washington, Great Neck, Roslyn, Westbury and Hicksville.


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