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Mike Bloomberg on Tax Reform

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


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:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014