Republican candidate for mayor Joseph Lhota says the city shouldn't regulate smoking in residential buildings and that Albany will be open to his tax cut proposal. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Joseph Lhota smokes cigars. On Monday, he said the city should butt out, literally.
"I don't think the government should come in and flat out say, especially in a building that, in your personal property or your personal space, you can't do what you want to do," he said.
Lhota said that the city should not regulate whether you can smoke in residential buildings. The exchange was part of a telephone town hall Lhota had with Democratic voters Monday night.
Much of the conversation revolved around taxes. Earlier in the day, Lhota slammed his Democratic opponent, Bill de Blasio, for a proposal to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-kindergarten that would need approval from Albany. Lhota called de Blasio's plan dead on arrival.
However, much of Lhota's job creation plan would also need Albany approval. He said his plan is much more palatable to the state legislature.
"It's been my experience historically that when you go to Albany with a justified plan to make adjustments to any part of the taxes that we're talking about, in this case, some of the income taxes, some of the corporate taxes, they have been receptive," he said. "We're not talking about raising taxes. We are talking about adjusting them."
Unlike de Blasio's pre-kindergarten proposal, Lhota said his plan to retool how property assessments are done does not need approval in Albany. He said he can do it administratively.
Officials at the city Independent Budget Office couldn't confirm whether that was entirely true, saying that large structural changes to property taxes would also need an OK from the state legislature.
Lhota was also playing defense for a report saying that Barry Goldwater, the former senator who voted against the Civil Rights Act, was one of his idols.
"It was reprehensible that Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act," Lhota said. "There are numerous things that I disagree with the late Sen. Goldwater."
Asked who his model influence was, Lhota said no one.