NEW YORK5 - There are 62 ways to balance New York City's budget, from restoring the Staten Island ferry fare to taxing single use plastic bags and raising civil marriage fees, according to a new report by a fiscal watchdog.
Many of the fiscal options analyzed Tuesday by the Independent Budget Office's annual report would not be popular, including bringing back a commuter tax.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who shut a $4.58 billion deficit in the new $65 billion budget that starts July 1, has repeatedly spurned raising taxes, including extending an expiring personal income tax surcharge on the wealthy.
Thanks to the recession, deficit-closing and budget-balancing measures have landed on the front pages given concerns the usually stable $2.9 trillion municipal bond market might suffer a slight rise in a historically low default rate.
The new report found that taxing carried interest, the profits hedge funds glean from managing assets, would produce $200 million. Subjecting insurers' business income to the general corporation tax would raise $300 million.
Green initiatives, like taxing single use plastic bags would produce $94 million, while building a waste-to-energy plant could save $29 million. Restoring the fare for taking the Staten Island ferry would raise $4.8 million. Bringing back the commuter tax that the state axed in the late 1990s would bring in $735 million.
The Independent Budget Office, modeled after the Congressional Budget Office, assessed the fiscal impact of the possible fees and summarized their pros and cons. It did not advocate whether they should be implemented.
Some states, including Illinois, California and Connecticut are weighing tax increases, while others, including New York and New Jersey, have rejected that strategy.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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