De Blasio proposes 'robot tax' to counter job losses from automation

De Blasio proposes 'robot tax' to counter job losses from automation
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New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York area will lift capacity restrictions May 19 NYC 24-hour subway service resumes May 17 Schumer demands restoration of 24-hour New York subway service MORE on Thursday has unveiled a proposal for a "robot tax" and other measures to combat job losses due to increasing automation.  

Under the proposed tax, corporations that automate procedures resulting in job losses that do not provide "adequate replacement employment" would be required to pay five years of payroll taxes up front for each employee whose job is eliminated, according to a statement from de Blasio's campaign. 

The mayor also said he would create a new agency called the Federal Automation and Worker Protection Agency (FAWPA) to regulate automation growth and oversee its effect on employment. In addition, he endorsed closing tax loopholes including the “accelerated depreciation” loophole that allow corporations to deduct certain investments from taxes. 


De Blasio's campaign said that new revenue streams from the tax and closing of loopholes would allow FAWPA to enable the creation of jobs in the green energy, health care and early childhood education fields. 

“But current automation practices are an existential threat to our nation’s workforce that destroys good jobs and directs more and more of the profits only to the wealthiest Americans," de Blasio said in the statement. "My automation plan is the only one that would provide security for current workers and facilitates new, secure good-paying jobs for the next generation of working people."

Job losses caused by automation have become a focus of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangAdams touts momentum after poll shows him leading Yang in NYC race Yang gets key endorsement from former opponent in NYC mayor race Yang expands lead in NYC mayor race: poll MORE has been particularly vocal about the issue, embracing a monthly stipend of $1,000 for every American adult to reduce income inequality and balance the effects of automation.

Others including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.) have also discussed automation as a threat to workers

De Blasio is among the 20 people competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He did not qualify for the debate this month and has hinted he might exit the race if he does not make the October debate.