Even though New York’s Mayor De Blasio previously had said the subways weren’t his responsibility, he has since changed his mind.
He now wants to tax wealthy New Yorkers to pay for everything from emergency rail repairs to low-cost bus and train rides for the poor.
On Sunday, he unveiled an pitch to raise $800 million a year for mass transit by soaking the rich with a nearly 14 percent tax increase on high-income NY residents.
From NY Post:
The proposed city income-tax hike would raise the rate for individuals making more than $500,000 and married couples earning over $1 million from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent.
Hizzoner wants to earmark the bulk of the new cash to fix the decrepit subways and upgrade the bus system.
About $250 million would be used to subsidize half-price MetroCards for about 800,000 New Yorkers living in poverty.
“The top 1 percent can afford to do a bit more — and should, because a transit system that works makes New York City’s economy strong and benefits us all,” according to a City Hall press release on the plan.
The tax hike would amount to an additional $2,700 levy on an individual earning $1 million a year, and an additional $8,000 on an individual earning $2 million, according to City Hall.
The proposed increase — which would require the approval of the state legislature and mayoral nemesis Gov. Cuomo — marks de Blasio’s second attempt at class warfare on behalf of his political base of ultra-liberal Democrats and lower-income residents.
In 2014, Cuomo emphatically rejected de Blasio’s campaign pledge to pay for his universal pre-K program by taxing top earners, resulting in lawmakers instead striking a deal that sent $300 million to the city and $40 million to programs elsewhere in the state.
Since taking office in 2015, de Blasio has grown the city budget from $70 million to $85 million — an increase of more than 20 percent. There has been no city income tax hike during that time.
In nearly identical statements Sunday, Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota both called on the mayor to “partner with us and match the state funding” for an immediate overhaul plan.”
“There’s no question we need a long-term funding stream, but emergency train repairs can’t wait on what the state legislature may or may not do next year,” Lhota added.
The Cuomo administration also responded by floating plans to raise money for mass transit by imposing “congestion pricing” on tolls, an idea de Blasio has rejected.
“We are considering a number of proposals … that include how to introduce different forms of congestion pricing, including potential fees on for-hire vehicles,” said a Cuomo official, who noted that the administration has been testing out “reverse congestion pricing” by cutting truck tolls in half at night.
However, the crooked mayor’s tax plans will probably never amount to much in the GOP-led chamber.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) said, “If anything, the Senate will look to repeal taxes. And I can’t see the governor — especially coming into an election year — looking to raise taxes on anyone.”
The head of the Partnership for New York City business group also blasted de Blasio’s proposal, saying the mayor was “prepared to throw the city’s high earners under the bus.”
“If the mayor’s tax proposal were to be enacted, New York would be about even with California in imposing the highest income taxes in the country,” Kathryn Wylde said.
“This is simply not a sustainable situation if we expect the city to attract top talent and business investment, particularly with the pending threat of federal tax reform that may eliminate deductions for state and local taxes.”
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