Mayor de Blasio couldn’t care less if wealthy people leave the city for good because of the coronavirus pandemic, telling reporters on Friday that he won’t bend over backward for the one percent to return to NYC.
In a briefing from City Hall, de Blasio for a second day in a row sneered at Gov. Cuomo’s suggestion that the Big Apple’s ballooning deficit can only be bridged if rich people who fled at the outset of the pandemic come back and start paying taxes again.
“Let’s focus on working people. Let’s focus on the millions upon millions of people who are the backbone of New York City,” de Blasio said. “I am not going to beg anybody to live in the greatest city in the world.”
De Blasio also reiterated his demand for taxing wealthy New Yorkers at a higher rate and said the most “fair” period in American history was in the high-taxed aftermath of World War II.
“We saw much less income inequality,” he said. “We had the model right.”
Cuomo has offered a sharply different pitch.
The governor has rejected calls for a wealth tax on the state’s ultra-rich because he claims they will just leave for good in that case, depriving New York of much-needed tax revenue.
Earlier this week, Cuomo said he’s on the phone frequently with his deep-pocketed friends, pleading with them to “come back” from their pandemic refuges in the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut.
De Blasio countered in his Friday briefing that there’s no sense in coddling the wealthy.
“The wealthy have become more global, in many ways, much less rooted,” he said. “They will come, they will go.”
Despite their differences on taxing the wealthy, de Blasio and Cuomo are in agreement that Congress needs to allocate a huge chunk of budgetary relief for both city and state governments that have been hemorrhaging cash because of the pandemic.
However, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are making little headway on a stimulus package. Cuomo has warned that New York will likely have to start laying off hundreds of public employees in the state if federal aid doesn’t come soon.
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