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Assembly Dems want tax on super rich, ride-sharing surcharge, big boost for schools

ALBANY – The Democrat-led Assembly is calling for higher taxes on those who earn $5 million or more annually, a per-ride surcharge on ride hailing services and a 5.6 percent increase in school aid as part of its 2018-19 budget proposal. It endorses a modified version of congestion pricing for Manhattan.

Set to be adopted Wednesday, the plan outlines the potential flash points for budget negotiations with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said the tax increase on the wealthy and the ride surcharge are needed to help fund New York’s troubled mass transit, controlled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“New Yorkers deserve to have a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system. To help the MTA get there, we’re investing nearly $500 million to fund improvements. In order to meet these critical needs, we are asking the most fortunate among us to do a little more,” Heastie said in a statement.

The $1-per-ride charge would apply to services such as Lyft and Uber and to every jurisdiction outside of Manhattan. There, the charge would be $1 north of 96th Street and $2.75 south. Taxi rides would see a 50-cent charge for rides south of 96th. The Assembly idea runs counter to one advanced by a Cuomo-commissioned panel which called for charging private motorists $11.52 per trip below 60th Street between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

On taxes, Heastie proposed bumping the state income-tax rate for those earning $5 million to $10 million annually from 8.82 percent to 9.32 percent; 9.82 percent for incomes between $10 million and $100 million; 10.32 percent for annual incomes greater than $10 million.

The tax hike would put the Assembly at odds with Cuomo and Senate Republicans.

Education spending also will be up for debate. The Assembly endorsed a 5.6 percent – or $1.5 billion -- increase. That’s almost double what the governor proposed: $769 million.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) is expected to unveil his budget proposal Wednesday.

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