Democrats Call Bloomberg’s Billionaire Comments ‘Out of Touch’

Possible billionaire Scrooge McDuck. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Possible billionaire Scrooge McDuck. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Some of the city’s leading Democrats are displeased with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s declaration that it would be a “godsend” if all the world’s billionaires relocated to the five boroughs.

Although the Democrats, including mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, didn’t disagree with the substance of Mr. Bloomberg’s comments this morning, they suggested it was tone deaf for the billionaire mayor to focus on the tax revenue generated by his own ultra-rich income bracket when asked about rising rates of poverty and income inequality.

“We certainly appreciate if people come here and help build our economy,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters at a Brooklyn endorsement event. “But the mayor needs to understand–beyond his social circle–are millions of New Yorkers who are struggling and who are looking to contribute to this economy, if they could only get a job to contribute to it with.”

“So we welcome everyone, we’ll work with everyone. But city government needs to focus not on the few, but on the many,” Mr. de Blasio added.

Comptroller John Liu, whom Mr. de Blasio defeated in the Democratic primary last week but nevertheless continues to hit the campaign trail, weighed in with even sharper words.

“It would only be a godsend if the City’s wealthiest residents paid an equitable tax rate. Right now families that make $50,000 are paying the same rate as a family that makes nearly $50 million. The Mayor’s comment shows once again just how out of touch he is with the average New Yorker,” Mr. Liu argued in a statement from his government office.

Councilwoman Tish James, vying to replace Mr. de Blasio in the public advocate’s office, piled on as well. “Today, Mayor Bloomberg gave voice to the policies he’s been pushing for the past 12 years: he wants New York to be a city of billionaires,” she charged in a statement. “This is exactly what’s wrong with the Bloomberg approach.”

Additional reporting by Jill Colvin.