De Blasio proposes tax on wealthy to fix New York's crumbling subways

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De Blasio is expected to announce a proposal Monday that would tax city residents with annual incomes of more than $500,000 in order to raise money for subway improvements.

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.

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.

Lhota had proposed an $800 million plan for immediate subway repairs and suggested that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio to split the costs evenly between the state and city budgets.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said the mayor should partner with him and match the state funding immediately to "turn the trains around". The highest marginal income tax rate would rise about half a percentage point to 4.41%. "While it is constructive to focus discussion on the transit system's long-term capital needs, new funding streams to support these needs should come from motorists - who are not contributing their fair share to the MTA - through congestion pricing or other charges for motor vehicle use".

City officials estimate the tax would be paid by about 32,000 New York City tax filers, or less than 1 percent of those who file their taxes in the city.

He also said the push for "Fair Fares" for low-income transit riders has never been so urgent. 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. 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. About 800,000 people in New York City who are at or below the federal poverty level - about $24,500 for a family of four - could qualify for half-price MetroCards, city officials said.

"It is a matter of fairness", de Blasio said.

John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, praised the proposed tax. "We can not ask New Yorkers to wait one year to start repairs".

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.

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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