Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced his campaign for a millionaire tax to fund subway repairs on Monday, acknowledging the public transit inequities that riders have been urging him to recognize for months as part of their campaign for half-price MetroCards for the working poor.

"We need fairness. Something we don't have enough of," the mayor said. "Too many people who have paid in haven't gotten their fair share back. And too many people who could pay a little bit more haven't been."

The so-called "fair fix" tax, which is contingent on state approval, would bring in approximately $820 million annually by the year 2022 through a .5 percent increase in income tax on individuals who make over $500,000 and married couples who make more than $1 million. The bulk of that money would go toward subway and bus repairs, with around $250 million dedicated to the Fair Fares program. The latter, estimated to fund half-price cards for roughly 800,000 working poor within two years, got a firm 'no' from City Hall when riders asked Mayor de Blasio to fund it earlier this year.

All told, the tax would apply to an estimated 32,000 tax filers, less than one percent of the city's population, according to City Hall. "That individual will pay about $2,700 more in their annual taxes," the mayor said. "It means about seven dollars per day.... They are not going to miss seven more dollars a day."

"We're not begrudging anyone success, but the success that many wealthy people have achieved is because of government policy that favored them, a tax code that favored them," he added.

Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the pro-business Partnership for New York City and a Cuomo ally, accused Mayor de Blasio of throwing "the city's high earners under the bus." New York's wealthiest "already carry a huge tax burden and are widely considered flight risks," she charged.

Transit advocates had less sympathy for the millionaire class.

"A millionaires' tax would require some New Yorkers to pay, but the status quo requires literally millions of New Yorkers to pay in the form of lost wages, missed work and days ruined by breakdowns and delays," stated John Raskin, director of the Riders Alliance, the organization that had been advocating for the Fair Fares program.

"It's fair to ask the New Yorkers who benefit the most from our city's prosperity to pay a little more to repair the infrastructure that the entire economy relies on."

But even proponents of de Blasio's millionaire tax acknowledge that it's a long-shot, and said the responsibility of funding and managing the MTA is ultimately on Governor Cuomo's shoulders. The governor did not endorse the mayor's proposal, stating instead that, "The State is currently evaluating a range of dedicated revenue proposals for the future to be discussed and advanced in January when the legislature returns."

Cuomo went on to imply that the millionaire tax is a distraction from the MTA's recent $400 million ask to address transit issues in the short term. "There is no doubt that we need a long-term dedicated funding stream," he said. "But there is also no doubt that we cannot wait to address the current crisis."

The MTA also attacked the mayor's move, complaining that Chairman Joe Lhota "learned about this proposal from reading it in The New York Times," and arguing that the tax would delay the emergency initiatives already under way.

And TWU Local 100, the Cuomo-allied transit workers union that negotiates with the governor for their union contract, accused the mayor of "delaying efforts to fix the NYC subway."

At Monday's press conference, Mayor de Blasio insisted that his proposal hits a "sweet spot," as it will only apply to New York City residents and won't put upstate Republicans on guard (though Albany's penchant for meddling in strictly city business is real). As more New Yorkers acknowledge Governor Cuomo's responsibility to the MTA, he reasoned, the governor will feel pressure to appease them.

Another MTA funding stream that's been presented over the years in one form or another is congestion pricing—a tax on drivers coming into Manhattan that Mayor de Blasio described as "a true non-starter" as recently as Friday, despite the idea gaining traction in the City Council. De Blasio reiterated his skepticism on Monday, while admitting that he hadn't been briefed on the policy for years.

"I have no idea how bipartisan or not it is," he said. "I was briefed on it in 2013 and I have not looked at it since."

The nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission said Monday that a tax on drivers would be more appropriate than an income tax—less vulnerable to economic downturns with the dual benefit of reducing traffic.

"New funding streams to support these needs should come from motorists—who are not contributing their fair share to the MTA—through congestion pricing or other charges for motor vehicle use," stated CBC President Carol Kellermann.

Hours after de Blasio's millionaire tax was first reported Sunday, reporters confirmed that Governor Cuomo is considering congestion pricing in preparation for his 2018 State of the State address.

The mayor told reporters he didn't know anything about this, but "if other plans start to move we'll certainly look at them."

"At the end of the day, Governor Cuomo not only runs the transit system, but he also dominates the state legislature process that can create a source of revenue," said Raskin, the Riders Alliance leader. "The challenge for the governor is, if he doesn't like this proposal, what's his alternative?"

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