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

Aug 08, 2017, 00:22
De Blasio wants to tax the rich to fund NYC subway improvements

He said the subways weren't his responsibility, but Mayor de Blasio now wants to tax wealthy New Yorkers to pay for everything from emergency rail repairs to low-priced bus and train rides for the poor. The increase would apply to married couples with incomes above $1 million, and single filers above $500,000.

Hizzoner's proposal, which will be formally announced on Monday, comes after weeks of fighting with Gov. Cuomo, who wants the city to pick up half the tab for an $836 million subway rescue plan.

"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".

"At the end of the day, Governor Cuomo not only runs the transit system, but he also dominates the state legislature process that can create a source of revenue", said Raskin, the Riders Alliance leader.

The mayor's spokesman Eric Phillips said in a Twitter post the plan would affect 32,000 of "the city's wealthiest".

"The city should partner with us and match the state funding now so we can begin Chairman Lhota's overhaul plan immediately and move forward".

"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 tax would reportedly raise more than $700 million a year, with more than $500 million allocated toward capital costs for subways and buses.

The tax changes would require approval from state lawmakers in Albany - a hard hurdle, with Republicans in control of the Senate, though the urgency of the subway's decline has raised the stakes and captured the attention of both parties.

He also said the push for "Fair Fares" for low-income transit riders has never been so urgent.

The mayor's proposal built on an effort by state Senator Mike Ginaris (D-Queens) to tax the wealthy to support the subway, and a campaign by transit activists to establish reduced fares for poor residents.

The worsening system is hurting Cuomo's approval ratings among New York City voters, and de Blasio is blamed for the problem by the city subway workers' union. "We can not ask New Yorkers to wait one year to start repairs", he said. About 800,000 people in New York City who are at or below the federal poverty level - about $24,500 for a family of four - could qualify for half-price MetroCards, city officials said.

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.

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