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The commanding heights: The ‘tale of two cities’ mayor makes a vital point about the uber-rich


Turns out, we need to be at peace being a tale of two cities after all.

Friday, the supertall mayor who once decried income inequality as the biggest problem confronting New York said of supertall buildings now scraping the Midtown skies, “I don’t love them, I don’t like the look of them – I just don’t believe that they’ve had a seismic impact on this city.”

De Blasio went on to admit that, well, a big part of the reason those towering spires full of luxury condos (many of them unsold) aren’t in his crosshairs is because they and the people who live in them provide countless millions in tax revenue to help finance the costly social programs on which he’s building his legacy, programs typically aimed at people struggling to get by.

Not to mention an ever-growing city payroll, which has shot up 12%, from 297,347 to 332,285, from 2014 to 2019, and the pension and health care costs those future retirees bring.

Today, even without the new taxes on millionaires de Blasio desperately desires, city tax filers earning $1 million or more — who represent 0.7% of all filers — cover 38.9% of the city’s total income tax base. Other taxes are also skewed toward the top.

If de Blasio wants to argue that the city and state should tax the wealthiest even more, he’s free to make the case. But at least he’s now on record acknowledging how necessary those people and their tax receipts are to their fellow New Yorkers.