This Op-Ed by Nicole Malliotakis originally appeared in the Brooklyn Reporter

Last week, the legislature convened in Albany for an Extraordinary Session to take up a set of issues that were geared toward closing this year’s budget gap and reducing the deficit looming next year.

Governor Cuomo constructed a legislative package that offered a win-win scenario for people in Bay Ridge and all across Brooklyn -a cut to income taxes and a roll-back of the disastrous MTA Payroll Tax that has bankrupted our schools, and forced jobs out of our community.

Her, in the 60th Assembly District, you’re more likely to see a dinosaur walking down Fifth Avenue than a millionaire. That’s why passing tax cuts for the middle class was so important to our community – the people that will be affected by the tax code changes are our neighbors, shop owners, friends and family.

Even high earners will pay less in taxes next year than they did in2011. These are the common-sense measures we need in state government to stop hemorrhaging population like New York has had over the past decade.

Perhaps the biggest victory for Brooklyn taxpayers, however, was the drastic scale-down of the MTA payroll tax. This is a fee that prevents employers from bringing in new employees and forces schools to choose between paying for teachers and funding vital curriculum.

Here in Bay Ridge, we all know that no amount of revenue will ever be enough for the mismanaged MTA coffers. The legislation passed this week will not only alleviate the burden on nearly 80 percent of the business owners that were paying this tax, but it will finally address the inequity and injustice regarding payments from schools.

Previously, public schools were being reimbursed for their payments while private and parochial schools were left to shoulder the burden. Now, all schools will be fully exempt from the payroll tax,providing overdue fair treatment for private and public schools.

Last month, I hosted a series of public forums that gathered input from local businesses, organizations, commuters and taxpayers about how the tax affected their lives, and I am happy to say that our voices have been heard loud and clear.

The next step is pushing for a full repeal of the tax, and I plan on using last week’s momentum to see this through until the end.

With confidence in government at an all-time low, the bipartisan accomplishments made in last week’s session serve as a reminder that government works best when we listen to the will of the people.

That’s why I do everything I can to make myself available to my constituents –

we can only succeed if we continue to work together!