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Fair Fare Advocates Respond to Millionaire's Tax

08 August 2017
Fair Fare Advocates Respond to Millionaire's Tax

A little over a month after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the New York City subway, his longtime nemesis in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is proposing a new tax on wealthy New Yorkers to help fix the ailing system. The majority leader's office did not respond to a request for comment from CNNMoney, but a spokesman for Senate Republicans batted down the idea to The New York Times.

"It's $7 a day - that's a half-hour of parking in a typical Midtown Manhattan garage", de Blasio said at the campaign-rally-style event in front of a podium of sign-waving activists. The mayor has said the city already is giving its fair share.

Combined with a 2017 federal income tax rate of 39.6 percent, married couples in New York City with incomes in excess of $1 million already pay a combined income tax rate of 50.35 percent, with those over $2 million at almost 53 percent.

Cuomo says the city should contribute more from its own coffers since it technically owns the subway system, a point echoed by newly appointed MTA Chairman Joe Lhota. "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".

The tax would hike the top income tax bracket from about 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent for married couples earning over $1 million and individuals earning over $500,000.

"There are only two proper uses for this money - it can not be diverted", de Blasio said.

The mayor's plan also calls for half-price MetroCards for low-income riders.

Subway power outages, long delays and even a derailed subway vehicle led New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency for the system back in June. It would affect just under 1% of people filing taxes in the city.

De Blasio plans to announce the proposal Monday. "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".

In response, the state's transit authority came up with an $8.8 billion plan to stabilize and then overhaul the subway.

All told, the tax would apply to an estimated 32,000 tax filers, less than one percent of the city's population, according to City Hall.

Mr. Lhota, who ran unsuccessfully against Mr.de Blasio for mayor in 2013, also took a jab at Mr.de Blasio, saying he was glad the mayor had "reversed himself" after arguing that the authority did not need additional money.

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