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

08 August 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked Monday by community activists, labor leaders and fellow Democratic politicians, officially rolled out a proposal for a millionaires' tax to help fix the subways and aid low-income commuters.

De Blasio's plan calls for an increase to the city's highest income tax from 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent, an increase of nearly 13 percent.

The tax hike would amount to an additional $2,600 levy on an individual earning $1 million a year, and an additional $8,000 on an individual earning $2 million, according to City Hall.

"Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st century", de Blasio said in a statement.

The proposed new tax would raise about $700 million to $800 million a year, with more than $500 million going toward capital costs for subways and buses and about $250 million for the half-price MetroCard program, city officials said.

"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".

Cuomo declared a "state of emergency" for the subway system in June.

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"I was an invited guest and spoke at the mayor's event because I'm one of four appointees on the MTA board", Vanterpool said, explaining that she supported the mayor's proposal. Cuomo, also a Democrat, has insisted the city pay half of an $830 million emergency-overhaul proposed last month by the governor's chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Joseph Lhota.

If the legislation is approved, the "modest increase" in state income tax would affect New Yorkers who make $500,000 or more annually.

The transit system in Seattle began offering reduced fares for low-income riders in 2015 and has signed up more than 40,000 people. "There is no doubt that we need a long-term dedicated funding stream", he 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.

"Taking responsibility is the first step toward a solution", Blasio told a news conference, emphasizing that the system is controlled by the state.

John Raskin, executive director of the transit-advocacy group the Riders Alliance, told Fox Business in a statement he supports the mayor's plan.

The number of subway delays has tripled in the past five years to 70,000 per month, and trains are overcrowded on some lines. The plan would need approval from the Republican-controlled New York Senate, which is averse to tax increases.

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