New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams is taking a decidedly different approach to big businesses and the wealthy than current Mayor Bill de Blasio and those on the left wing of his party: make sure they want to stay, rather than tax them until they go somewhere else.
At an event in Manhattan over the weekend for new PAC Striving for a Better New York, Adams gave a reminder that while some want the highest earners to pay more in taxes, those people already provide the lion's share of the city's tax revenue.
"Yeah, we’re over 8 million people. But do you know 65,000 pay 51% of our income taxes?" Adams said, according to Politico. "We lose them, we lose our teachers, our firefighters, our Department of Sanitation. We lose what we need. So having people say, ‘So what if they leave?’ No, you leave. I want them here."
This is far different from what de Blasio said during a briefing last year regarding whether the city needed its richest residents to come back after fleeing during to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Let’s focus on working people. Let’s focus on the millions upon millions of people who are the backbone of New York City," the mayor said at the time, the New York Daily News reported. "I am not going to beg anybody to live in the greatest city in the world."
De Blasio expressed a lack of concern over whether the wealthy are in New York at all, downplaying their significance.
"The wealthy have become more global, in many ways, much less rooted," he said. "They will come, they will go."
Sunday's event featured a business-oriented audience, and Adams offered a reminder that New York and New York City have been known for its thriving big businesses.
"This is the Empire State – this is not the city that destroys empires," he said. "This is the city that allowed empires to grow and build[.]"
Adams defeated a field of rivals that included progressive candidates in the city's Democratic primary in June. In November, he faces off against Republican Curtis Sliwa, a radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels anti-crime group.