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Mayor De Blasio Defends Plan To Raise Parking Meter Rates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to raise parking meter rates -- a move that could burden outer borough businesses and working people.

His plan includes raising the rates at the nearly 70 percent of the spots in the outer boroughs that now charge $1 an hour.

CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer asked the mayor on Friday whether he feels "that working people who may use those spots... could be unfairly disadvantaged and it could be a regressive tax?"

"You know I care a lot about making sure there's fairness for working people," he replied.

De Blasio said that while he cares about the working man, he's more concerned about congestion. To ease congestion, he wants to see more turnover of parking spots in outer borough business districts, like Astoria, Queens.

"I would argue to a lot of small business owners: If those spaces don't open up more often, they're going to lose a lot of customers," he replied.

"If we don't have affordable parking, then they're more likely not to come into this area," said Yashima Bhatia, of Priti Women Beauty & Boutique.

"You don't hardly have time to go in the stores with the time that's on the meters now," a man added.

Some see the move as a legitimate attempt to ease traffic congestion, some as a municipal revenue raiser.

The mayor said even if you insist on looking at it as a tax, it's still not all that bad, because it's "an occasional expense, as opposed to many other things that are a constant expense in people's lives."

"It's very different than something like a sales tax, for example, which is on a wide variety of purchases you might make all the time," he continued.

The Department of Transportation is still working out the new rates. The mayor said he wants to make sure they're not overly onerous to everyday New Yorkers.

The new rates are expected to go into effect in all five boroughs by the end of the year.

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