New York City is an interesting social experiment in how path-dependent bad public policy can be. For decades, the city amassed wealth through a local government that directly picked winners and losers and used its influence in Washington DC to amplify the excesses of its winners.
I tell people all the time that the claim that blue states are “donor states” when it comes to federal taxation is factually, mathematically, incorrect. The federal budget does not consist of only what people pay into the system, but also of a large web of what policy nerds call “tax expenditures” (what most people know as tax breaks). The population of NYC and NYC corporations have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of tax loopholes for decades. (In fact, I would submit to you that Wall Street is the biggest welfare queen in the country. That’s pretty much Chuck Schumer’s claim to fame.) They have no reason to whine. Most of their problems are local – i.e., of their own creation.
Now NYC is driving anyone who has been even remotely successful away, which is most of their local tax base. And how are they going to address depleted funds for public services? Put more financial pressure on anyone who has been even remotely successful. And a downward spiral is underway. As a Floridian who is about to put her beach house on the market, however, I say thank you.
Mayor de Blasio made a public plea Friday for taxing the rich and redistributing their money even as the Big Apple reels from a coronavirus-induced budget crisis that’s already caused well-heeled New Yorkers to head for the hills.
“Help me tax the wealthy. Help me redistribute wealth. Help me build affordable housing in white communities if you want desegregation,” de Blasio said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer” show after a caller asked about integrating public schools.
“If you just talk about it and feel self-satisfied, god bless you,” de Blasio said to the caller who cited a New York Times podcast called ‘Nice White Parents” that argues white parents should do more to bring racial equality to schools.
“That’s not actually going to change things. What changes things is redistribution of wealth. Tax the wealthy at a much higher level,” the mayor said, adding that he’d never heard of the podcast.
“I just feel like this is a lot of cocktail party comfort going on rather than people honestly dealing with this issue,” he said.
Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) said the mayor should cut fat from the city’s budget instead of squeezing more funds out of his constituents.
“Everyone should pay their fair share in taxes, but instead of begging for even more money from taxpayers, the mayor should consider cutting out the enormous waste in his bloated budgets with programs like ThriveNYC that have no measurable outcomes,” Holden said, citing the $1.25 billion mental health plan run by First Lady Chirlane McCray.
“Middle-class residents are already being driven out of the city, and the ‘tax the wealthy’ mantra is just de Blasio’s code for continuing to use the middle-class as his cash cow because he considers everyone who makes a decent living as ‘wealthy.’
“We’re not fooled by this,” Holden said.
Jay Martin, executive director of the real estate group the Community Housing Improvement Program, called out de Blasio for failing to bridge the gap between the city’s haves and have-nots.
“In six years of economic boom times the mayor did nothing to help the poor and working class he claims to care about. His only solution to job loss is to put more people on government payroll.
“His feckless actions have left the people of NYCHA to live in squalor, while he squanders taxpayer dollars for his political gain. New Yorkers of every political persuasion have had enough of his blundering,” Martin said.
De Blasio is begging Albany for $5 billion in borrowing authority he says he needs to prevent the layoffs of 22,000 municipal workers and plug revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic.Gov. Cuomo has warned that a push by some state legislators for a millionaire’s tax “in this environment in New York City, where we’re struggling…people might leave.”
One Albany Democratic legislative insider mused that “the mayor must not be paying attention.“There’s certainly been movement to pass a statewide millionaires’ tax. We’re not going to do a state tax and a city tax. It would be a heavy lift. Didn’t he just ask us to approve a $5 billion loan?”
Suffolk County officials are already welcoming wealthy vacationers and weekenders to stay put after Labor Day by providing local businesses with additional labor and personal protective equipment. Public school districts in those areas have seen their enrollment rise to their highest levels in decades.
Kathryn Wilde, CEO for the business group The Partnership for New York City, said at least the urban exiles in Suffolk County are still paying state taxes.
“We should be glad this is happening in Suffolk County rather than Florida,” she told The Post.
New York’s highest income earners pay 43 percent of the city’s and 51 percent of the state’s income taxes, according to the Empire Center.
Let that last sentence sink in for a moment. NYC and New York State are sacrificing essentially half of their tax base for their Marxist gods. Can you imagine how much they are going to have to cut public services to bring things back in balance when the reckoning finally arrives? It’s going to be catastrophic.
The same folks who foisted DeBlasio on New Yorkers are making a run for national political power, however. So you can watch NYC’s social experiment and behold what they want to do to our entire country.