New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News Tax on second home, pay freeze for city workers and more suggested by NYC’s Independent Budget Office by Shant Shahrigan

Tax on second home, pay freeze for city workers and more suggested by NYC’s Independent Budget Office

Taxing second homes, freezing pay for municipal employees and hiking the price of a ferry ticket are among a slew of new suggestions from the city’s Independent Budget Office as the city faces a huge revenue shortfall.

The suggested “pied-à-terre” tax would apply to second residences with a market value of $5 million or more, or condo and co-op units assessed at $300,000 or more.

The tax, which would require action by the state legislature, could raise $390 million per year, according to IBO. A proposal to implement such a levy failed last year in Albany.

A citywide pay freeze would save the city $1 billion in 2021, IBO estimates. While the city is in a hiring freeze and Mayor de Blasio has urged unions to find savings, the city could save funds by canceling anticipated wage increases, the office stated.

IBO released 14 new suggestions in its annual report on “Budget Options for New York City” on Tuesday.

Those include raising the price of a ticket in the city’s ferry system from $2.75 to $6.75, the price of an express bus ride. That would yield an extra $35 million per year, IBO estimated.

The suggestions are non-binding, and unlike other independent agencies, IBO doesn’t advocate for its proposals to elected officials.

The suggested “pied-à-terre” tax would apply to second residences with a market value of $5 million or more, or condo and co-op units assessed at $300,000 or more.

“We neither endorse nor reject any of the budget options presented,” the office stated on its website.

Last month, the de Blasio administration announced the city had collected $748 million more in income and business taxes than previously expected. But after making painful cuts to services this year, the city still faces a $4 billion revenue gap next year.

IBO’s report included more than 80 suggestions from previous years.

Those include a “pay-as-you-throw” program that would charge households for waste based on how much they discard. That would save the Sanitation Department $367 million per year.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who’s outlined billions of dollars in budget savings, applauded many of IBO’s suggestions.

“If only the city would listen, we could save so much money,” he told the Daily News.

But some of this year’s proposals, like raising the fare for Access-A-Ride, the city service for disabled commuters, were non-starters, Kallos said.

“Raising fares on the disabled is just a bad idea,” he said.

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