Aug. 7 (UPI) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will propose a tax increase on the city’s most wealthy residents to pay for repairs to the subway and bus systems.
The surcharge on the city’s highest tax rate would increase the rate from 3.3 percent to 4.9 percent — and would raise $695 million in 2018 and $820 million in 2019, the mayor’s spokesman said Sunday.
The increase would affect about 32,000 New Yorkers, whom officials identified as the top 1 percent of all taxpayers in the city. 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.
“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 Sunday in a statement.
A tax increase will require approval of state legislators. With Republicans in control the New York Senate, the proposed surcharge could face opposition — but the magnitude of the problem has captured the attention of both parties in Albany, The New York Times reported Monday.
The proposal comes as de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, publicly argue over who should pay for improvements to the city’s aging transportation system. While the state controls the transportation authority, Cuomo has called on de Blasio to help find funding.
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.