Updated: City tax hike on the rich to be key issue in 2013 mayoral race

Bloomberg

Bloomberg (Credit: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Getty Images))

Correction appended at bottom.

Raise taxes on rich New Yorkers? It's just "dumb," the mayor said.

The candidates looking to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg next year have expressed some interest in taxing the rich, but hizzoner said it will drive wealthy New Yorkers right out of town.

Bloomberg made those remarks Monday before the Columbus Day parade when asked about a proposal by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a potential mayoral candidate.

De Blasio wants the state to increase the tax on New Yorkers making above $500,000 to pay for universal pre-K, which Bloomberg said would hurt the city in the long run.

"It is about as dumb a policy as I can think of," Bloomberg said, adding it's the best strategy to send the "1% of the people that pay roughly 50% of the taxes" out of town.

"Our revenue would go away, and we wouldn't be able to have cops to keep us safe, firefighters to rescue us, and teachers to educate our kids," he added.

Other potential mayoral candidates, including City Council Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, have also supported higher taxes on the rich. Quinn and Stringer haven't given specfic ideas and Liu announced a proposal during the summer that would lower the income tax on New Yorkers making less than $200,000 a year.

The public advocate has kept pushing his proposal tweeting a quote from the mayor that said "I've never heard one person say I'm going to move out of the city because of the taxes."

The ongoing question of whether to tax the rich is going to be big on the campaign trail, political experts said.

The national debate over the issue combined with the ever increasing costs of living in the city are on the minds of a lot of voters, political consultant Evan Stavisky said.

"Right now it is a clearly a public concern," he said.

Andrew William Moesel, a political consultant for Sheinkpopf Communications, said it's hard to say what approach works.

While there is valid concern that at tax could deter affluent people from coming to the Big Apple, Moesel said higher tax proposals have helped to add more services to the city like more cops.

"Will a tax deter people from coming here? It remains to be seen," he said.

The article has been updated to reflect the following correction: John Liu did put forward a specific proposal to lower taxes for the city's lower earners.

Tags: NEWS , Michael Bloomberg , 2013 elections , Bill de Blasio , Christine Quinn , John Liu , Occupy Wall Street , Ivan Pereira , ARTICLE , AMNY , HOLD

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