Higher taxes for wealthy New Yorkers? Higher taxes on booze? A commuter tax?
These are some of the suggestions that the city's Independent Budget Office offered Wednesday as part of its Budget Options report, which provides ideas on how to balance the city's finances.
Although Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will inherit a balanced budget from Michael Bloomberg, IBO director Ronnie Lowenstein said the next administration will have to face serious challenges, including federal aid cuts and expiring labor contracts.
The report offers 92 ways to cut costs and raise revenue. Raising taxes for New Yorkers who make more than $200,000 would raise $485 million in revenue by 2015.
An increase on the alcohol tax, which has been unchanged since 1980, to 34 cents a gallon for beer and $2.80 a gallon for liquor would generate $49 million annually, according to the IBO.
One of the biggest financial boosts, according to the report, would be the restoration of the commuter tax, which the state Legislature repealed in 1999. If the state brought the 0.45% tax back, the city would raise $856 million in revenue by 2015 and if they instituted a progressive commuter tax, it would raise $1.6 billion, the report said.
De Blasio's transition team didn't return messages for comment about the report.
New Yorkers were mixed on the recommendations for new tax proposals.
"Any taxes that don't affect me, I'm for," said Tiffany Bovell, 24, of Washington Heights.