In late July, new MTA chairman Joe Lhota released an emergency plan to fix New York City's subway system. The announcement detailed 30 separate initiatives, which are estimated to cost $800 million over the next year. Governor Cuomo said that the State would pay for half of those repairs and called for the City of New York to shoulder the remaining costs (much to Mayor Bill de Blasio's chagrin).
But the mayor is singing a completely different tune this week, as he proposed a tax hike for the city's richest residents in order to pay for the fixes. De Blasio's proposal would increase the city income tax rate among couples earning at least $1 million and individuals with incomes of at least $500,000 by .5 percent. That new tax rate for would be 4.41 percent and would effect an estimated 32,000 New Yorkers.
The change would bring in an additional $800 million in revenue for the city each year, according to the mayor's office, and would help subsidize subway fares for low-income New Yorkers on top of the repairs to the system.
“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 or transit system into the 21st century,” de Blasio said in a statement.
Don't hold your breath on the tax hike getting approved, though—it would need to pass through a republican-controlled state legislature. While it might be a pipe dream, it's the best solution to date for paying for the expensive repairs to the city's subway system.