It was reported this week that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is worth $31 billion, making him the nation's 10th-richest person, and now, the mayor says more of his fellow billionaires should join him in living in New York. The invitation prompted some commentary from those looking to succeed him in office. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
It's not that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is lonely. It's that he sees the whole city benefiting if even more rich people moved to New York.
"We could get every billionaire around the world to move here," Bloomberg said on his radio show Friday. "It would be a godsend."
Some beg to differ. They think New York has become too rarefied. Those people found their disgust validated this week with word that of the biggest U.S. cities, none has a wider income gap than New York.
Narrowing that gulf is at the center of Bill de Blasio's campaign for mayor.
"We want every kind of person in New York City," de Blasio said Friday when told of Bloomberg's comments. "We certainly appreciate if people come here and help build our economy. But the mayor needs to understand that beyond his social circle are millions of New Yorkers who are struggling."
Even if Bloomberg may not ooze empathy, he said it's his policies that matter, policies, he added, that help poor people through services funded by the high tax rates levied on the wealthy. Hence, his call for more of them to move here.
Republican candidate Joseph Lhota said he hadn't heard the mayor, but he's criticizing de Blasio. He said that the Democrat's plan only aids those with a job, not those looking for work.
"That's how you deal with income inequality. You don't deal with it around the margins," Lhota said. "You're talking about paid sick leave. Paid sick leave helps the people who are employed today. What about the people who are at the core problem of income inequality who are unemployed? I want them all employed."
De Blasio was endorsed Friday by Sen. Charles Schumer, which was no surprise, considering they're both Democrats.
De Blasio said he also wants more jobs. He said that better city university, universal pre-K and after-school programs advance the city's workforce. He plans to fund it with higher taxes on those making upwards of $500,000 per year.
Schumer wouldn't take a position on de Blasio's tax plan, but he did note that he backed a rise in federal income taxes.