Mayor Bill de Blasio has dismissed rich New Yorkers who fled the city as ‘fairweather friends’ and said their taxes should be raised – days after Governor Cuomo begged the city’s top 1 percent to return to prop up its ailing finances.
Swarms of wealthy residents fled New York when the city went into lockdown in March and became the coronavirus epicenter of the world.
Despite the city reopening and bringing the outbreak under control, New York has failed to lure back its richest residents with many upping sticks altogether for areas where they can enjoy lower rent and taxes.
Residential and commercial properties now lie abandoned across the city, crime is soaring with shootings up a staggering 201 percent compared to the same time last year, homelessness is rife and the streets are overflowing with rubbish following budget cuts to essential services.
But while fears mount the Big Apple is headed back to the dark days of high crime and poverty seen in the 70s and 80s, De Blasio, who has a personal net worth of $2.5 million, has added yet another nail to New York’s coffin by calling for a spike in taxes for the wealthiest which could wave goodbye to a much-needed tax base for good.
‘It’s time to look it in the face and say you know what? Wealthy New Yorkers can afford to pay a little bit more so that everyone else can make it through this crisis,’ De Blasio said Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured at Thursday’s press conference) has dismissed rich New Yorkers who fled the city as ‘fairweather friends’ and said their taxes should be raised – days after Governor Cuomo begged the city’s top 1 percent to return to prop up its ailing finances
Speaking at his press briefing from City Hall, the mayor insisted the city will ‘not make decisions based on the wealthy few’ and blasted wealthy residents saying that ‘as everyone else is suffering the rich are getting richer’.
De Blasio himself has fared well amid the pandemic, raking in $9,000-a-month from three rental properties as an ample side hustle to his $258,000 salary as mayor, all the while cash-strapped New Yorkers have struggled to pay rent.
‘I was troubled to hear this concept that because wealthy people have a set of concerns about the city that we should accommodate them, that we should build our policies and approaches around them,’ he said.
‘That’s not how things work round here anymore.’
He continued: ‘This city is for New Yorkers, this is for people who live here, work here, fight to make this place better, fight through this crisis.
‘There’s a lot of New Yorkers who are wealthy, who are true believers in New York City, who will stand and fight with us and there are some who may be fair weather friends but they will be replaced by others.’
Swarms of wealthy residents fled New York when the city went into lockdown in March and became the coronavirus epicenter of the world. Pictured, the village of Sag Harbor
Popular destinations among so-called ‘coronavirus refugees’ include Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, the Hamptons, Hudson Valley, the Jersey Shore and southern Florida
NYC VIOLENCE IN THE LAST MONTH COMPARED TO THE SAME TIME IN 2019:
- Shooting victims +165%
- Shooting incidents +201%
- Murders +50%
- Burglary +29%
- Grand larceny auto +52%
- Rape -3.5%
- Robbery -1.3%
- Felony assault -2.1%
De Blasio insisted the mass exodus from the city and the dire spike in crime is only a short-term problem sparked by a ‘perfect storm of temporary problems’.
‘I think you’ll see a certain number of people who leave and after an appropriate time, after a vaccine will come back,’ he said.
‘I think you’ll see some people who decide they want a different kind of lifestyle and I think a lot of those people will be replaced by other people coming in.’
He brushed off the uptick in crime saying ‘you’re going to see that turn around… because the coronavirus crisis will be over soon’.
New York City’s wealthiest neighborhoods have been rocked by a spike in violent crimes in the last month, with Manhattan’s Upper East Side recording an alarming 286 percent increase in robberies compared to the same period last year.
NYPD data also revealed murders are up 50 percent in the last month compared to the same time last year, shootings are up 201 percent and burglaries up 29 percent.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea this week described the current crime crisis as ‘challenging’ but De Blasio, who cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget last month, insisted the city is bringing it under control and that this will not deter people from returning to the city in the long term.
‘I do not hear people making the decision on that – I think there’s a pretty strong understanding out there that people are paying attention that this is a temporary reality caused by a perfect storm of temporary problems,’ he said.
De Blasio’s attack on the rich and unwavering optimism over the future of the city comes in direct opposition to comments made by Cuomo days earlier, who issued a plea to New Yorkers to return to the Big Apple and save it from economic ruin.
A man washes a Mercedes G- Class on a deserted street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Many of New York City’s wealthiest residents left the city in March and have not returned
Retail on the UES has taken a hit along with the rest of the city. The state of NY is now staring down the barrel of a $30billion deficit over the next two years
NYC MILLIONAIRES FLEE FOR SMALLER TOWNS
- Nearly 420,000 New York City residents left between March 1 and May 1
- Neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side and SoHo saw populations drop by at least 40%
- People mostly fled to Long Island, upstate New York like the Catskills and Florida, all of which are popular summer home destinations
- Residents who left were in neighborhoods made up of mainly whites with household incomes of more than $100,000 per year
At a press conference Monday, Cuomo said he has spoken with some of New York City’s wealthiest residents and fears upping taxes will drive them out for good.
‘I literally talk to people all day long who are in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, “You gotta come back, when are you coming back?” he said.
“‘We’ll go to dinner, I’ll buy you a drink. Come over, I’ll cook.”
‘They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking? If I stay there, I pay a lower income tax because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge.’
It is not unusual for Manhattan to clear out for the month of August, when temperatures between the skyscrapers soar and send many fleeing to Long Island’s beaches or further afield.
But this summer, with the ongoing lack of appeal in the city and after many have already set up permanent roots in their second homes in the Hamptons or upstate, the likelihood that people will come back in the fall is shrinking.
The huge exodus was compounded further by the chaotic riots and looting in some of the wealthiest parts of the city in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop.
A whopping 80 percent of some commercial real estate tenants didn’t pay rent in April and May which takes a huge chunk out of the city’s tax revenue base. Retail has resumed but it remains unclear just how many stores have been able to reopen
An analysis of data reveals that robberies are also on the rise in other affluent New York City neighborhoods – despite the fact thefts are down citywide – which is not likely to draw residents back
FACEBOOK ANNOUNCES FIRST MAJOR REINVESTMENT FOR NYC
Facebook has announced the first major reinvestment in New York City real estate since the coronavirus lockdown Monday by signing a lease in the landmark Farley building.
The social media giant has leased all of the 730,000-square-foot office space at the 1912 Beaux Arts former post office in Manhattan, in a deal that marks a major expansion of the company’s business operations in the city.
According to AMNY, the move could boost the number of Facebook employees in NYC to 10,000.
It comes as much of the Big Apple’s office space lies empty with many employees still working from home and wealthy New Yorkers having fled the city.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio heralded the company’s investment in the city as ‘part of our economic rebirth’, despite smaller businesses in the Big Apple continuing to go out of businesses post-lockdown.
Cuomo said he is resisting mounting calls from lawmakers to boost taxes on the city’s highest earners to try to plug the $30billion deficit that was left by the pandemic.
‘A single per cent of New York’s population pays half of the state’s taxes and they’re the most mobile people on the globe,’ he said.
He wants the federal government to step in with help in the final stimulus bill that is due to pass soon, and has warned that unless more financial aid is given, the country is on track for a ‘real recession’.
‘If they don’t make this bill right, frankly, they shouldn’t pass it because it will be the last bill.
‘If this bill does not have funding for state and local government you will see a real recession, not just in New York but across the country [by] forcing state and local governments to lay off people,’ he said.
The state’s tax base has taken a beating from the sheer number of tenants who failed to pay rent, and with almost no retail or dining occurring for the best part of three months.
Tourism has also been all but depleted with international travel bans rumbling on and travelers from 35 states now required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival into New York.
With a gaping deficit in the city and state’s budget, essential services like garbage collection, are suffering.
The city’s sanitation budget was cut by $106million to try to reduce outgoings. It resulted in trash piling up all over the city.
The NYPD has also faced a $1 billion chop to its budget, despite the city already recording more shootings in 2020 than there were by the end of the year in 2019.
Robberies on the Upper East Side have also increased by more than 200 percent.
Homelessness is rife across the city, with stark images last week showing a growing crowd of drug addicts shooting up in broad daylight in Manhattan’s upmarket Midtown neighborhood.
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly warned last month that the future for New York City is ‘very bleak’ and that crime could increase to levels not seen since the 70s and 80s.
Soho, Manhattan: Cardboard boxes and black trash bags line a sidewalk on Broadway and Bleecker Street on July 31
Chelsea, Manhattan: An overflowing garbage can is pictured on W. 21st Street and 7th Avenue Friday
Gravesend, Brooklyn: Overflowing trash waiting for pick up covers the sidewalk near 86th Street under the El train
Police appear to be turning a blind eye to a growing crowd of drug addicts shooting up in broad daylight in Manhattan’s Midtown neighborhood as locals plead for someone to step in and put an end to the unsettling scenes. Pictured: One man doubles over on the ground while another holds onto a railing for support in a plaza at 34th St and 8th Ave on Thursday