Photo © Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
As the dilemmas of New York City’s subway system continue, so does the public feud between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Cuomo on Tuesday called de Blasio’s plan for the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund the MTA’s emergency action plan “dead on arrival” because of Republican opposition in Albany. As the Daily News reported, Cuomo’s remarks come just a day after de Blasio said he does not “believe in” congestion pricing, an idea the governor said he will be pushing for in January.
The mayor’s “millionaires tax” proposal aims to tax rich New Yorkers more in order to pay for subway repairs as well as half-price MetroCards for low-income commuters. It would increase the tax rate of the city’s wealthiest residents to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent, for married couples with incomes over $1 million for individuals who make more than $500,000 annually, as 6sqft previously covered. According to the city, De Blasio’s new tax would generate between $700 million and $800 million each year for the MTA, allocating $500 million for capital costs for subways and buses and $250 million for the half-priced initiative.
Any tax changes for city residents would require approval from state lawmaker. Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has already said he would not support the tax. Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday that the mayor’s proposed tax is not “politically viable.” He added: “It has been several times before because the millionaires tax has been put forth for multiple situations and it’s been tried before and it’s failed several times before.”
Last week, the governor announced he would release a congestion pricing plan as a way to provide a dedicated source of funding for the transit system and reduce traffic on the city’s most congested streets. Congestion pricing would charge drivers to enter the highest-traffic areas in NYC.
While no specifics have been laid out by Cuomo yet, he said his administration is drafting a proposal that will improve and update former Mayor Bloomberg’s failed attempt ten years ago. Bloomberg’s legislation faced opposition from Democrats because the plan seemed to benefit Manhattan at the expense of constituents in Brooklyn, Queens and the surrounding suburbs. So far, no details have been laid out for what Cuomo’s proposal would look like in the city, but the governor said he’ll have a plan by his State of the State speech in January.
As the NY Times reported, de Blasio on Monday said he doesn’t believe in the concept of congestion pricing. “I’ve never been in favor of this strategy,” de Blasio said in response to a question about the governor’s pricing plan at an unrelated press conference. “I’ve never seen an example of it that I thought was fair. I’m always going to keep an open mind, but no.”
On Tuesday, Cuomo held his position on his proposal and said a “long-term congestion pricing would be a smart policy and provide a viable long-term financing scheme.” He again took a swipe at de Blasio for not agreeing to pay the city’s fair share for the MTA’s emergency action plan to fix the subway. In July, the authority released a plan that would cost more than $800 million in subway repairs and renovations and asked the bill be split between state and city entities. While Cuomo has agreed to contribute half of the cost, de Blasio has so far refused.
[Via NY Daily News]
- Cuomo to offer a congestion pricing plan to fund transit repairs
- De Blasio wants to tax rich New Yorkers to fund subway repairs
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