New York City's mayor wants to tax the wealthiest 1 percent of city residents to fund repairs and improvements to the beleaguered subway system. It would affect individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million.
"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", said de Blasio in a statement.
Calling it a "human crisis" as well as a subway crisis, de Blasio said the millionaires' tax would call on "New Yorkers who typically travel in first class to pay their fair share so the rest of us can get around, so the rest of us can get to work, so the rest of us can live our lives in this city".
The mayor of NY wants to tax the city's wealthiest people to help fix its ailing subways.
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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. 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.
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.
"There are only two proper uses for this money - it can not be diverted", de Blasio said. De Blasio's plan also includes funding to offer half-price fare cards for low-income riders.
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"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 said.
The worsening system is hurting Cuomo's approval ratings among New York City voters, and de Blasio is blamed for the problem by the city subway workers' union. As many as 800,000 New Yorkers are expected to qualify based on income levels. 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.
John Raskin, the executive director of the Riders Alliance, a New York City advocacy group that has called for reduced fares, applauded the mayor's push for new revenue and his support for half-price MetroCards.
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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