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Bill de Blasio Will Push for Tax on Wealthy to Fix Subway

Bill de Blasio Will Push for Tax on Wealthy to Fix Subway

Wealthy New Yorkers "won't miss" the $700 million a year Mayor de Blasio wants to slug them annually to pay to fix the subway system - because they're already blowing their money on fancy food and cars, he said at a press conference Monday.

City officials say Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan would increase the top income tax rate from about 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent for married couples who make more than $1 million and individuals making more than $500,000.

The tax hike would bring in about $800 million a year.

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.

The mayor's spokesman Eric Phillips said in a Twitter post the plan would affect 32,000 of "the city's wealthiest".

"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", Metro Authority's chairman, Joseph J. Lhota told The New York Times. Women are more likely to live in poverty in New York City, and the poverty rate is higher among black, Hispanic and Asian residents, according to the city's statistics on poverty.




"The mayor has not acknowledged that the MTA needs funding today", Lhota said in a statement Monday.

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. Another $250 million would fund the half-price MetroCard program for low-income New Yorkers. That funding would be dedicated to repairing the city's deteriorating transit system, which has seen accidents and delays in recent months, as well as an increase in the cost of fares. As more New Yorkers acknowledge Governor Cuomo's responsibility to the MTA, he reasoned, the governor will feel pressure to appease them. Mr. Lhota recently proposed a roughly $800 million plan for immediate subway repairs and called on Mr. Cuomo and Mr.de Blasio to split the costs evenly.

John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, was more receptive.

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.

De Blasio traditionally has gotten an icy reception in Albany any time he has asked for tax increases.

The tax changes would require approval from state lawmakers in Albany - a hard hurdle, with Republicans in control of the Senate, though the urgency of the subway's decline has raised the stakes and captured the attention of both parties.

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