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MTA says tax strike down could lead to cuts

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is warning that the decision to strike down its payroll tax could lead to service cuts and fare hikes.

The MTA released a statement Thursday saying the removal of more than $1.2 billion in revenue the tax brings in would be "catastrophic" for the MTA and New York.

A state judge on Wednesday ruled the payroll tax unconstitutional. The tax was passed in 2009 to avert service cuts as the MTA faced a record deficit.

The ruling was a victory for Nassau County which had filed suit against the state legislature for enacting the tax. Westchester and Putnam joined that lawsuit.

The MTA, which operates the Long Island and Metro-North railroads, and the New York City transit system, says it "will vigorously appeal" the ruling.