Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced his campaign for a millionaire tax to fund subway repairs on Monday, acknowledging the public transit inequities that riders have been urging him to recognize for months as part of their campaign for half-price MetroCards for the working poor.
The tax would impact married couples making more than $1 million annually or individuals making more than $500,000 a year, according to The New York Times.
According to the New York Times, Mayor de Blasio will announce the tax proposal on Monday, which comes nearly two weeks after MTA chairman Joe Lhota unveiled a 30-point action plan to fix the ailing subway system.
Subway power outages, long delays and even a derailed subway auto led New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency for the system back in June.
Kellermann welcomed de Blasio's support for reduced-fare MetroCards for lower-income residents, but said the money can be found from existing city resources.
On Sunday, the authority's chairman, Joseph J. Lhota, responded to the mayor's proposal by saying that the agency needed emergency financing immediately.
"The mayor has not acknowledged that the MTA needs funding today", Lhota said in a statement Monday.
It would affect about 32,000 of New Yorkers filing taxes in the city, or just less than 1 percent, officials said.
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.
A request for a $500, million increase in 2014 to fund citywide pre-K programs was never seriously taken up, with Cuomo instead directing state funds to the program. "There is no doubt that we need a long-term dedicated funding stream", he said. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is run by the state, not the city. As more New Yorkers acknowledge Governor Cuomo's responsibility to the MTA, he reasoned, the governor will feel pressure to appease them.
John Raskin, executive director of the transit-advocacy group the Riders Alliance, told Fox Business in a statement he supports the mayor's plan.
The MTA also attacked the mayor's move, complaining that Chairman Joe Lhota "learned about this proposal from reading it in The New York Times", and arguing that the tax would delay the emergency initiatives already under way.
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.