Published: Tue, August 08, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Bill de Blasio proposes a 'millionaires tax' to fund subway repairs

Bill de Blasio proposes a 'millionaires tax' to fund subway repairs

Mayor Bill De Blasio's announcement this morning that he would push the state legislature to pass a "Millionaire's Tax" to fund subway improvements and reduced-fare metro-cards received strong reactions from the MTA, Albany, and mayoral challengers.

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.

Mayor de Blasio's statement is a step in the right direction.

Another MTA funding stream that's been presented over the years in one form or another is congestion pricing-a tax on drivers coming into Manhattan that Mayor de Blasio described as "a true non-starter" as recently as Friday, despite the idea gaining traction in the City Council.

Critics say the proposed tax hike would throw the city's highest earners under the bus. The new funding would also be separate from the authority's short-term subway rescue plan, which city officials said should be paid for by returning money to the authority that the state had previously diverted.

The increase requires the approval of the state legislature and governor.

De Blasio on Sunday unveiled an election-year pitch to raise $800 million a year for mass transit by soaking the rich with a almost 14 percent tax increase on high-income Big Apple residents. "We can not ask New Yorkers to wait one year to start repairs".

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Lhota said the mayor should partner with him and match the state funding immediately to "turn the trains around".

De Blasio on Saturday revealed his new plan for the "millionaire's tax" to pay for repairs to the failing subways, improve the bus system and to subsidize half-price MetroCards for about 800,000 low-income New Yorkers. The tax would bump the top income rate from 3.9% to 4.4% for couples who make more than $1 million per year and individuals who make more than $500,000. "But the success that many wealthy people have achieved has been because of government policies that favored them", de Blasio, a Democrat, said at a press conference in Brooklyn.

Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif said the city should not discuss raising taxes when it had a large surplus. "If the city wants to up its contribution to help shore up the subways for commuters and their families - which we support - it certainly has the means to do that".

Continuing the back-and-forth between City Hall and Albany, the latter of which has overseen the beleaguered MTA since 1981, de Blasio again called on the state to take "fuller responsibility" for the agency in crisis.

"Taxpayers, particularly New York City taxpayers, already provide approximately 40 percent of the mass transit budget through the payroll mobility tax and other taxes", she said an emailed statement.

John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, praised the proposed tax.

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