New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks higher taxes for those New Yorkers making over $500,000 a year-- as proposed last week by Public Advocate and likely mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio-- is "about as dumb a policy as I can think of."
Capital New York reports that Bloomberg-- whose net worth as the country's 10th richest person increased from $22 billion to $25 billion over the course of six months this year-- responded to a question Monday about de Blasio's tax, saying, "Well if you want to drive out the 1 percent of the people that pay roughly 50 percent of the taxes, or the 10 percent of the people that pay 70-odd percent of the taxes, that's as good a strategy as I know. That's exactly the ways to do it, and then our revenue would go away, and we wouldn't be able to have cops to keep us safe, firefighters to rescue us, teachers to educate our kids."
De Blasio, who says revenue from the tax on the city's rich would go towards pre-K education programs, quickly realized that Bloomberg's position was a flip-flop:
That's right, in 2008, WNYC reported that Bloomberg said, "I can only tell you, among my friends, I've never heard one person say I'm going to move out of the city because of the taxes. Not one. Not in all the years I've lived here. You know, they can complain, 'Ugh, I got my tax bill, it's heavy.' But my friends all want to live here."
At the time, Bloomberg was responding to questions about statements from then Governor David Paterson, who was also worried taxes would drive the wealthy out of New York.