The Big Apple has taken a back seat to Beijing as the world’s billionaire capital, and that’s before a new state tax hike possibly pushes more fat cats to leave.
The Chinese capital has exactly one more billionaire than Gotham, 100 to 99, according to Forbes’ recently released list.
The number of billionaires worldwide increased 32 percent to 2,755, or 660 more than a year ago, as many cashed in on a surging stock market. Beijing saw an uptick of 33 billionaires during the worldwide COVID catastrophe that began in China, while NYC’s roster increased by only seven.
"I personally know countless millionaires and billionaires who have left," said Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, who is considering moving and relocating his 200 employees from Manhattan to Miami.
Manhattan supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, worth a cool $3.3 billion, agreed: "New York is being destroyed. I was in Palm Beach last weekend, and I met more millionaires and billionaires who have moved recently than you have hair on your head. The key is they stay in Florida enough days each year to avoid New York taxes.
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He warned, "New York will continue to go downhill — and our billionaires and wealthiest will just get up and leave — unless the city improves." While he continues to contemplate a run for governor, the Republican mogul told The Post he’s also mulling moving his official residence out of state to reduce his tax bill.
"Billionaires can buy a new corporate jet and live in Florida, and easily fly back and forth between New York City and Miami with the money they can save by moving to lower-taxed states like Florida," added Catsimatidis.
While Beijing eclipsed NYC billionaires in number, its superrich fall far behind in net worth — city moguls are worth $550 billion to Beijing’s $490 billion.
Former Mayor Bloomberg was once again the city’s wealthiest person, and the world’s 20th richest, with $59 billion. TikTok titan Zhang Yiming, with a $35.6 billion fortune, was Beijing’s top billionaire, and 39th in global rankings.
But higher taxes and dwindling quality of life could trigger an exodus from NYC.
"Wealthy people are now afraid to walk the streets in New York," said Torossian. "A few of my hedge fund friends moved quietly to Palm Beach, and won’t return."
Michael Heller — founder and CEO of Talent Resources, a fast-growing digital "influencer" marketing agency which works with celebrities and brands like Dunkin’ Donuts — ditched his home in lower Manhattan six months ago and moved with his wife and 5-year-old son to London’s Notting Hill.
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It could save him millions.
"I am not a billionaire today, but I could be someday," said the former New Yorker.
The last time Gotham lost its No. 1 ranking was in 2016, when it slipped behind Beijing for a year.
This story first appeared in the New York Post.