Monday, July 02, 2007

Tax-Hike Mike (Bloomberg)

Andrew Roth excerpts Pat Toomey's op-ed over at Club for Growth:

Mr. Bloomberg began his first term with a firm pledge not to raise taxes, declaring in his 2002 inaugural address: "We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot drive people and business out of New York. We cannot raise taxes. We will find another way." Seven months later, Mr. Bloomberg raised taxes on cigarettes [1875%] from eight cents to $1.50, followed by another 50-cent increase in 2006.

Mr. Bloomberg followed the initial cigarette tax hike by proposing a whopping 25% property-tax increase, eventually reduced to 18.5% by his Democratic City Council. In 2003, the "fiscally conservative" mayor added insult to injury by piling on a raise in the city's income and sales taxes. Although Mr. Bloomberg offered tax rebates and is now implementing property- and sales-tax cuts, this relief is small compared to the additional burden imposed on homeowners and businesses in his first term. A study by New York City's Independent Budget Office published this year concluded that the tax burden is 90% higher than the average of other major cities. Amazingly, Mr. Bloomberg appears indifferent to the effect his fiscal policies have on beleaguered taxpayers, justifying them, in part, by arguing that New York City is "a high-end product, maybe even a luxury product."

Naturally, these tax hikes went hand-in-hand with a dramatic increase in city-funded spending. Over his first term, spending increased by an average of 10% per year according to New York City's Independent Budget Office -- wildly outpacing inflation and population growth, easily surpassing the 2.84% average during Rudy Giuliani's two terms and even beating out David Dinkins's four-year spending spree.

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