Monday, 21 August, 2017

De Blasio wants to tax these New Yorkers to improve the MTA

Bill de Blasio Will Push for Tax on Wealthy to Fix Subway De Blasio proposes tax on wealthiest New Yorkers to fund subway repairs
Juana Turner | 08 August, 2017, 00:24

The change would bring in an additional $800 million in revenue for the city each year, according to the mayor's office, and would help subsidize subway fares for low-income New Yorkers on top of the repairs to the system. It would increase the city's highest income tax rate by about 0.5 percent, from about 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent, for married couples with incomes above $1 million and individuals who make more than $500,000.

"The good news is that Mayor de Blasio has acknowledged New York City's significant ownership of the New York City Transit Authority and the fact that new funding is needed to modernize the subway system", Mr. Lhota said in a statement.

Cuomo declared a "state of emergency" for the subway system in June. He said the state and city have short-changed the MTA for years, and a temporary tax would generate about $2 billion.

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

About 32,000 of the city's wealthiest residents would see their taxes rise, de Blasio said.

Lhota, who learned about the proposal from The New York Times, said in a statement the MTA needs "short-term emergency financing now".

Asked how he arrived at the threshold of $500,000 a year, de Blasio would say only that it was the same model he'd proposed to pay for universal pre-K - an idea that failed when Gov. Cuomo instead persuaded the legislature to fund the program statewide out of general revenue.

But what about advocates who have long advocated for lower-priced metrocards for the city's low income residents? "There is no doubt that we need a long-term dedicated funding stream", he said.

"I would argue that the MTA is in a full-blown crisis and that would justify our return to Albany to enact this measure in an emergency session", Ginaris told the New York Times. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is run by the state, not the city.

At the mayor's press conference, speakers stressed that the tax would affect only a handful of taxpayers - an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 - all of them in New York City. As more New Yorkers acknowledge Governor Cuomo's responsibility to the MTA, he reasoned, the governor will feel pressure to appease them.

John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, was more receptive. Since the tax would require approval from the New York State Legislature, de Blasio would likely need Cuomo's help to gain approval from the Republican-controlled Senate.

The city contributes about $1.6 billion a year toward operating costs, on top of the almost $6 billion that comes in from New Yorkers and visitors using the system.

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