The De Blasio administration is doubling down on its proposed millionaires tax, with the announcement that 27 of the City Council’s 51 members are now on board with proposal.
The Fair Fix plan, as the mayor’s office refers to it, calls for a 0.534 percent increase on the income tax rate for incomes above $500,000 for individuals, and $1 million for couples. That constitutes less than 1 percent of the city’s taxpayers, or about 32,000 people, according to the mayor’s office, but its benefits to the community could be substantial.
The tax is projected to raise $700 million in 2018, and climb to $820 million by 2022. Those funds could then be used for core infrastructure improvements on the subway, to things like signal fixes, news cars, and track maintenance.
The time for those fixes is now. Systemwide delays currently cause an estimated $864,000 a day in lost work time, according to a study released by the Independent Budget Office in mid-October.
A companion study by the agency released yesterday also found that the average number of passenger hours lost to delays systemwide during the weekday morning rush has increased by 45 percent from 2012 through May 2017, from just over 24,000 hours to nearly 35,000 cumulative hours daily. (The New York Times has dug in to the human cost of these delays.)
The money generated by the Fair Fix tax would also be used to fund half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers, a measure that De Blasio’s office has in the past skipped allocating funds for in the fiscal budget, maintaining that all matters MTA are the state’s purview. The mayor’s office projects that over 800,000 New Yorkers would qualify for half-priced MetroCards based on their incomes.
The 27 City Council members who have announced their support for the project by way of a letter to the MTA board and its chairman, Joe Lhota, include Jimmy Van Bramer, Margaret Chin, Laurie Cumbo, Rafael Espinal, Ben Kallos, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, and Jumaane Williams.
“NYC needs a long-term solution to improving the MTA and delivering the reliable, quality service New Yorkers deserve,” said Council member Rafael Espinal in a statement. “Asking those at the top to do a bit more will go a long way in funding this crucial service, which keeps our city running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”