At a press conference this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his proposal for funding `Fair Fares’ for low-income New Yorkers along with urgently needed subway improvements through a modest increase in the existing “millionaires tax.”
The mayor’s proposal, which would require approval from the state legislature, would generate $700 to $800 million a year, with $500 million annually dedicated to capital upgrades on NYC subways and buses and approximately $250 million a year earmarked for half-price MetroCards for 800,000 working-age New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty level. Under the mayor’s proposal, only the wealthiest NYC residents would be asked to pay a little more; the tax rate on the city’s highest earners would go from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent on taxable incomes above $500,000 for individuals, and $1 million for married couples.
The mayor’s plan recognizes the critical role of public transit to the life of our city and how essential it is that we have a system that works, and that works for everyone.
This important step comes as a result of a lot of hard work by a coalition of advocates, union members and elected officials who lent their voices to the effort to make our public transit system more equitable. Together we elevated the struggles faced by low-income New Yorkers who so often cannot afford to get to work, to medical appointments, and home to their families after a long day. Together we put transit affordability on the public agenda. And now we need to continue to fight to make sure `Fair Fares’ goes from a proposal to a reality.