Michael Bloomberg said giving drivers a break from the gas tax is “the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time.”
I asked him about it right after he delivered his executive budget at City Hall just now.
He said, “It’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time from an economic point of view. I don’t understand why you think there’s any merit to it whatsoever. We’re trying to discourage people from driving and we’re trying to end our energy dependence. We don’t do that—oh, and incidentally, we’re trying to have more money to build infrastructure. All three of those things go fly in the face of giving everybody $30 a year. The $30 bucks is not going to change anybody’s lifestyle. The billions of dollars that we would otherwise have in tax revenues can make a big difference as to what kind of a world we leave our children.”
Bloomberg praised officials who opposed the “summer break on gasoline taxes which would help Chavez, Qaddafi and other people like that. I don’t know why anybody would want to do it.” He went on to say critics like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver were right. “And,” he added, “[Barack] Obama was right on this one, and that [John] McCain and [Hillary] Clinton were wrong. The last thing we need to do is encourage people to drive more and to take away the monies we need for infrastructure in this country.”
UPDATE: Joe Bruno’s spokesman, Mark Hansen, responds: “The vast majority of New Yorkers, especially upstate, must rely on their cars to get to work and school and do not have any mass transit. The rising price of gas is costing them $10 to $20 more every time they fill up their tanks. The Senate, like John McCain and Hillary Clinton, support cutting gas taxes because it is the right thing to do to give New Yorkers relief.”