Bloomberg's Super Rich Friends Threaten to Flee City, Mayor Warns

By Jill Colvin on October 12, 2012 2:57pm 

 Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Diane von Furstenberg at her boutique in the Meatpacking District for Fashion's Night Out.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Diane von Furstenberg at her boutique in the Meatpacking District for Fashion's Night Out.
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Harel Rintzler/ PatrickMcMullan.com

NEW YORK CITY — Raising taxes on the wealthy would spell disaster for the city, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned Friday.

Speaking on his weekly radio show, Bloomberg said that raising taxes on the rich — as several of his wannabe successors have called for — would drive many of his ultra-affluent friends out of New York, robbing the city of much-needed tax revenue.

"Most of my friends are committed to the city, but I know a lot of people who just don't have that great feeling for New York," he said. "Maybe they didn’t grow up here...Maybe their families aren't here. And they can move."

On Thursday, Bloomberg said he already knew several people who were keeping careful track of how many days they spent in the city, in case they needed to switch their residency to somewhere else.

“Whether you think it’s right or not, the wealthy are mobile," he said.

But Bloomberg said that any exodus would be devastating for the city because of how much in taxes the rich pay.

According to his figures, roughly 1 percent of the city's population paid 47 percent of the personal income taxes collected by the city last year.

Just 0.1 percent of residents, or 3,700 filers, he added, paid 27 percent of the city's personal income taxes, while just 500 filers were on the hook for 15 percent of the city's income taxes bill.

He noted that a growing percentage of the city's pension checks are being mailed out to states with lower tax rates, including Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

“You don't have a tax base unless we can attract people who are very mobile and have a lot of money,” he said.

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