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Bloomberg calls higher tax on rich 'dumb'

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on during a news conference in New York City. (April 13, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

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

It's just "dumb," Bloomberg said.

He made his thoughts known yesterday 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 earning more than $500,000 to pay for universal prekindergarten.

Bloomberg said such a tax would hurt the city in the long run.

"It is about as dumb a policy as I can think of," Bloomberg said, adding that it's the best strategy if you want to send the "1 percent of the people that pay roughly 50 percent 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 said.

Other potential mayoral candidates, including City Council Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu and Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer, also have supported higher taxes on the rich, but have not given specifics like de Blasio has.

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."

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