Now that Bill de Blasio has secured his status as frontrunner in the lead-up to to the Democratic primary, all of a sudden rich people are afraid the man might follow through on one of his marquis campaign promises: tax the rich to expand early education. Bloomberg Businessweek reported this morning that “some of the wealthy New Yorkers who’d pay more under his plan say it bewilders and offends them.” Shhhh. Hear that? A sad song plays softly in the distance.
Under de Blasio’s plan, New Yorkers making more than $500,000 a year will see their income tax increase from 3.9 to 4.3 percent, averaging about $1,000 per household across the bracket. That money would go directly to fund full-day pre-kindergarten programs for the 40,000 city children who are relegated to half-day instruction.
De Blasio announced the plan back in October to the Association for a Better New York, a real estate developers’ civic group–a contradiction in terms, but never mind–without much to-do. Back then it was pretty unlikely any of his plans would actually become policy.
But now that de Blasio is the one to beat, the riches won’t have any of it. Former Lehman Brothers Vice Chairman Peter Solomon tells Businessweek that “anybody who proposes raising taxes in the city of New York is barking up the wrong tree.” (Seeking fiscal policy advice from a former Lehman Brothers executive is probably a bad idea, but I digress.)
That’s not to say all of the city’s barons of industry take issue with de Blasio’s surging popularity. George Soros, ruthless currency speculator-cum-billionaire philanthropist, endorsed de Blasio’s campaign last month.
In donating $2,000 to de Blasio’s election cause, Soros said the tax hike “is sound public policy and will have a powerful impact on reducing inequality,” probably while picking the gold shavings from between his teeth.