Mike Bloomberg on Tax Reform

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


Tax cuts paying for themselves defies reality

CEOs aren't waiting on a tax cut to "jump-start the economy"--a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company--or to hand out raises. It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that. The Treasury Department claimed to have more than 100 professional staffers "working around the clock" to analyze the tax cut. If true, their hard work must have been suppressed. The flimsy one-page analysis Treasury released--which accepts the White House's reality-defying economic projections in order to claim that the tax cuts will pay for themselves and then some--is a politically driven document that amounts to economic malpractice. So does the bill itself.
Source: OpEd by Michael Bloomberg in Bloomberg News , Dec 15, 2017

GOP tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder

In effect, the tax bill [passed by Congressional Republicans and signed by President Trump in December 2017] achieves four main things:
  1. It takes money away from schools and students.
  2. It restricts our ability to invest in infrastructure.
  3. It does nothing to boost real wages while making health insurance more expensive.
  4. It makes it harder to control the costs of Medicare and Social Security without cutting defense and other spending--or further exploding the deficit.
To what end? To hand corporations big tax cuts they don't need, while lowering the tax rate paid by those of us in the top bracket, and allowing the wealthy to shelter more of their estates.

The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future. The Republicans in Congress who must surely know it--and who have bucked party leaders before--should vote no.

Source: OpEd by Michael Bloomberg in Bloomberg News , Dec 15, 2017

Raised property taxes to 18.5%, highest in history

Having drained any warm and fuzzy feelings that his election might have engendered, he went one step further. He felt compelled to commit the other of all political offenses: raising taxes.

Although he had warned as a candidate that raising taxes would "destroy this city" and pledged no higher taxes in his inaugural speech, Bloomberg broke his promise. To protect city services and budget shortfalls, he decreed the highest property tax rate in the city's history, settling with the city council on an increase of 18.5%. And he raised the taxes 6 months sooner than necessary, to collect more revenue faster.

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p.129 , Sep 28, 2010

2004: Refunded $250M to residential taxpayers, not business

Bloomberg opened 2004 by offering a voter-friendly tax cut on residential property, worth about $400 a year for every owner of a private homer, co-op or condo. That would cost the city only $250 million of the $1.8 billion produced by the Bloomberg tax increase because the break went only to residential property owners. They happened to be his sharpest critics. The mayor gave no relief to the owners of utilities, large apartment buildings, office buildings, stores and factories.

Bloomberg took all the credit for the timely gift. "We recognized that tough times call for making tough--and sometimes controversial--choices. And we made them," he said. In fact, the city's finances usually rise and fall in sync with the national economy and Bloomberg's role in the comeback was limited.

Bloomberg got the rebate through the city council.

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p.140 , Sep 28, 2010

$400 property tax rebate to all homeowners

We remain committed to extending the $400 property tax rebate to all homeowners. Last year, we offered a 7%, across-the-board property tax cut for one year. Next week’s preliminary budget will propose an extension of that cut. However, adopting it will depend on a variety of factors unknown today--from the health of our economy to the continued help we get from our partners in State government to the outlook for future years after our Administration has come to an end.
Source: 2008 State of the City Address , Jan 17, 2008

Raised taxes on high-earners to incent municipal employees

As a last resort, we raised property taxes and income taxes on high-earners so that we’d have the money to incent our municipal employees to continue providing the great services that underpin the City’s quality of life. As you can imagine, cutting spending and raising taxes didn’t make me the most popular man in town. (I like to think of it as a character building experience.)

But I’ll tell you what it did do: it allowed us to close the huge budget deficits, balance the books and continue investing in the future: building new schools, revitalizing old industrial areas, creating the largest affordable housing program in the nation, supporting our cultural institutions, parks, libraries, and universities, and expanding world-wide advertising to attract businesses and tourists. And, because public safety is the foundation of economic growth, we developed innovative ways to crack down on crime and illegal guns. As a result, we’ve driven down crime by nearly 30%.

Source: Speech at “Ceasefire! Bridging The Political Divide” meeting , Jun 18, 2007

Raised property taxes 18% to pay off budget deficit

Bloomberg’s first year as mayor was rocky; he confronted a budget deficit as high as $6 billion and pushed through an 18.5 percent property tax increase. His approval rating plunged to 41 percent.
Source: Michael D. Shear, Washington Post, p. A1 , Mar 25, 2007

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Other big-city mayors on Tax Reform: Mike Bloomberg on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Sep 12, 2018