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Mayor de Blasio urges callers to back “Mansion Tax” in Albany

Mayor Bill de Blasio, above at a January

Mayor Bill de Blasio, above at a January hearing in Albany, urged participants in a teleconference on Monday, March 27, 2017, to back a tax on home sales over $2 million for senior affordable housing. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged seniors to rally behind his proposed “Mansion Tax,” during a teleconference town hall Monday, even as the state’s top lawmakers declared the proposal all-but-dead in Albany.

De Blasio told participants his plan to levy a 2.5 percent tax on home sales exceeding $2 million, was “about making our city fairer.”

The plan would generate $336 million to help fund affordable housing programs for some 25,000 seniors, he said.

“This is about recognizing the fact that seniors have done so much,” de Blasio told callers in the teleconference.

The mayor later said on NY1 that about 26,000 callers took dialed in.

De Blasio said during the teleconference that those who “can afford expensive homes” should be able to “pay a little more” to fund affordable housing for seniors.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in an interview with NY1 that aired as the mayor’s teleconference was wrapping up, signaled it was unlikely the measure would pass the state Legislature.

“It never went anywhere in January and it hasn’t gone anywhere since,” Cuomo said when asked about de Blasio’s proposal.

Questioned about the governor’s remarks, de Blasio, in a separate interview with NY1, replied: “The governor needs to think about the 25,000 senior citizens who would benefit.”

Last week, the mayor traveled to Albany to drum up support for the tax proposal that Senate GOP Leader John Flannagan (R-East Northport) described as a “non-starter,” in January.

In 2015, the state Senate also blocked a similar “Mansion Tax” proposal pushed by de Blasio.

“This idea has already been rejected,” Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif said last week when asked about de Blasio’s revived pitch for the real estate tax. “Senate Republicans support cutting taxes, not raising them.”

De Blasio, on the call, encouraged supporters of his plan to mobilize and call state lawmakers. He likened their efforts to those of protestors nationwide who demonstrated against the Trump administration’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Just days after a great victory . . . protecting the needs of everyday people . . . now it’s time to direct that same energy towards Albany,” de Blasio said referring to President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to call off a vote to repeal the Obama administration’s health care plan Friday, after failing to secure enough votes among U.S. House members for the plan.

— with Michael Gormley


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