De Blasio wants to tax the rich to fund NYC subway improvements

Bill de Blasio Will Push for Tax on Wealthy to Fix Subway

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday is to announce a proposal to levy a tax on the city's wealthiest residents that would fund an upgrade of the city's beleaguered subway system.

The tax hike would impact individuals making more than $500,000, and married couples making more than one million dollars.

At Monday's press conference, Mayor de Blasio insisted that his proposal hits a "sweet spot", as it will only apply to New York City residents and won't put upstate Republicans on guard (though Albany's penchant for meddling in strictly city business is real).

"A millionaires' tax would require some New Yorkers to pay, but the status quo requires literally millions of New Yorkers to pay in the form of lost wages, missed work and days ruined by breakdowns and delays".

Mr. Cuomo controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the state-run corporation that operates the subway and bus system. He said the state and city have short-changed the MTA for years, and a temporary tax would generate about $2 billion.

Cuomo has said the state and city should split the cost of a short-term $836 million emergency subway fix plan unveiled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The highest marginal income tax rate would rise about half a percentage point to 4.41%.

"New funding streams to support these needs should come from motorists-who are not contributing their fair share to the MTA-through congestion pricing or other charges for motor vehicle use", stated CBC President Carol Kellermann.

The increase would affect about 32,000 New Yorkers, whom officials identified as the top 1 percent of all taxpayers in the city.

De Blasio traditionally has gotten an icy reception in Albany any time he has asked for tax increases. De Blasio's plan also includes funding to offer half-price fare cards for low-income riders. "We can not ask New Yorkers to wait one year to start repairs". The Mayor could pay for fair fares through the city general fund, however, and not wait through the long, laborious process of securing state legislative approval. As many as 800,000 New Yorkers are expected to qualify based on income levels.

Cuomo and his newly appointed MTA chairman Joe Lhota, in separate statements issued Sunday, noted that de Blasio's plan would require legislative approval that could take up to a year to garner approval.

"We need to get the subway system working again so that New Yorkers can get to work", Mr. Raskin said, "but we also need to make the system accessible for the poorest New Yorkers so they can find jobs, education and economic opportunities in the first place".

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