Members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus dismissed Michael Bloomberg’s opposition to plugging the budget by taxing wealthier New Yorkers.
Lawmakers said that when the mayor presented his budget to them this morning, he focused on slashing city spending and laying off workers, including teachers. Not included in the budget, they said, were any new streams of revenue or tax increases.
Bloomberg, according to these members, said wealthier New Yorkers would simply move away rather than pay more taxes.
That argument was described as a “boogie man” “myth” and “falsehood,” by various members of the Progressive Caucus, who held a brief press conference on the City Hall steps. “He said they’re going to move out of the city,” recalled Margaret Chin. “There’s nothing to prove that,” she said.
Standing next to a pie chart that showed a majority of New Yorkers favored raising taxes on the rich, Brad Lander said they were simply asking for rich New Yorkers, Wall Street executives and hedge fund managers to sacrifice like poorer New Yorkers have been sacrificing.
When I asked what sacrifices the Council members were willing to make in terms of curbing city spending, they weren’t too specific.
“We are a group that takes our responsibilities very seriously,” said Lander. “Today, what is missing entirely is looking at the ways at hedge funds, and wealthiest New Yorkers and Wall Street firms can do their share.”