Libraries Left Out In Cold

MTA Payroll Tax Reform and Infrastructure Funds Ignore Libraries

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ALBANY, NY (12/06/2011)(readMedia)-- The New York Library Association is very dismayed that an initial agreement to boost the state's economy by reforming the MTA Payroll Tax, and providing additional funding for infrastructure projects and disaster relief has ignored the needs of libraries.

"They are letting private schools be exempt from the MTA payroll tax and not public libraries? Public libraries like our public schools are educational institutions that provide life-long learning to citizens of all ages in their communities, receive both state and local support and are chartered by the Board of Regents, just like our schools and yet we are left out in the cold," stated Michael J. Borges, Executive Director of the New York Library Association.

According to statistics gathered from libraries in the MTA coverage area, many libraries pay 50% to 100% of their state aid to the MTA (see attached charts).

"It is unfair that libraries, which have sustained a 23% cut in state aid since 2008 are paying a majority of their remaining aid to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority," said Matthew Bollerman, NYLA President.

"In addition, the state has totally ignored the construction needs of the library community in New York, which according to the state Library has a backlog of $2.5 billion in construction and renovation needs ( ). President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former Governor of New York knew the value of libraries when he authorized the Work Progress Administration (WPA) to build and renovate over 1,000 libraries during the Great Depression," continued Mr. Bollerman.

"The state has also ignored the needs of libraries damaged by flooding by excluding them from any additional relief aid, fortunately, our members and friends have raised $10,000 to donate to libraries damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee," commented Mr. Borges.

"We implore the Legislature to consider the library community's needs before giving final approval to this legislative package," stated Mr. Borges.