Will The Next Mayoral Race Turn Into a Fight For Taxes On The Wealthy?

With the news that Wall Street profits are projected to hit $15 billion this year, it makes sense that the next Mayoral race in New York City will focus on the issue New York's mega-wealthy (and, if our 'Mitt Loves N.Y.' series was any indication, there are a ton of members in this exclusive income club to work with). Bloomberg is getting ready to pass the torch to his successor and, after brushing off his administration from the Occupy saga/legacy, it's more than apparent that the One Percent is still on everyone's mind. 

This bares the question: how will these successors deal with the populist rage of the day? And what's the chances of this even happening in real-time?

Well, it looks as if any candidate seeks this tax initiative, they will have support from the Capitol. At a rally yesterday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took the affirmative on the 'tax the rich' issue. To a fling of supporters, he told the crowd, 

"We did that in the state while reducing taxes for the middle class. There's no reason the city shouldn't do the same thing if the revenue is necessary. I am not opposed to that at all as long as you make the tax code fairer across the board." 

What Silver is referring to in the beginning is the 'millionaire's tax' passed by the Cuomo's administration at the end of last year; a measure that had the support of about 72 percent of New Yorkers. And, if the City's deficit of $3 billion or so is a gesture towards this 'necessary revenue,' you might have a point, Mr. Speaker. 

So let's see what the prospective Mayoral candidates think:

Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio has a proposal to raise taxes on those with more than $500,000 in the bank. Except he added a sentimental rider to smooth it over: the prerequisite that the revenue generated from this new source of government income funds pre-K programs for all New York City children. While everyone else in City Hall let out a resounding "Awww," it seemed that his proposal really only pissed off this guy.

As Gothamist reports, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Comptroller John Liu have both come out to support a similar "millionaire's tax." The proposal reiterated a point Mr. Bloomberg made once in 2008, in which he said that his friends would never leave NYC because of higher taxes. Since then, the Hozziner never really followed through with that one. Also, since then, Zuccotti Park happened.

The two real Gracie Mansion contenders left, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Public Advocate Bill Thompson, flirted with the idea back in '09 but have all since abandoned it completely. Quinn's opposition is unusual, however, that it came around the same time her boss and, hopefully for her sake, her biggest endorser left the idea in the past, too.

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It is also strange that Quinn, the declared frontrunner of the race, has remained resilient to a measure that a majority of New Yorkers have called for. This might be simple political maneurvering or, maybe, it's just too close to call. As we all know, everything changes once the election bells ring.

But, as Bloomberg's $2 billion budget cuts clarion call makes headlines, it's safe to say that the issue is still in the air. With the high income disparity of Manhattan and, now, Brooklyn in the background, it's safe to say that this 'necessary revenue' issue - a surtax on the wealth of New York City's megarich, regardless of whether the next inheritor of Gotham wants it or not - will be on the campaign trail as well.


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