Michael Bloomberg opening the Tribeca Film Festival, 2008 (Courtesty of David Shankbone)
Sometimes I wonder, who are these billionaires so terribly terrified by the prospect of paying more in taxes? Well, many of them are Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s people, and as they gathered earlier this week to honor his long-time girlfriend, Diane Taylor, they were more than a little worried about this de Blasio fellow coming down the pike to replace him.
The soiree was held at the home of Christine and Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group, at 740 Park Avenue, the luxury condo housing some of New York’s wealthiest, such as David Koch. (You may recall that the Alex Gibney documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream focused on 740 Park, and that Tea Party and public TV funder Koch was so upset about it that PBS dumped another film, Citizen Koch, that it had already committed to.) Others in attendance included Barry Diller, Barbara Walters, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and a socialite named Muffie Potter Aston.
Women’s Wear Daily was there and picked up on the “considerable alarm about Bill de Blasio’s lead in the polls, along with his plan to raise taxes on New York’s upper echelon.”
“I fear for New York City if Mr. de Blasio gets elected,” said Muffie Potter Aston. “He just wants to tax everyone to smithereens. You have to be fair to everyone. You have programs that support all of the people of New York. But if you continue to tax what you see as the upper-income brackets, it’s still only going to be providing a small percentage of additional income.”…
“I’ve never understood why New Yorkers vote against their own interests,” said Jacqueline Weld Drake. “New York is a city of financial entrepreneurs, of genius stock traders and bankers. It would be a smart idea to keep it that way. It’s not a city that’s going to benefit from high taxes because people who have substantial incomes have a choice. They have a choice of venues. New Jersey beckons. Florida beckons. All kinds of other states who do better at job creation. We are really biting the hand that feeds us. No question about it.”
If de Blasio’s small additional tax on the wealthy (to fund universal pre-K) is enough to scare them all to Jersey, you’d expect that the next documentary PBS would quash would center on some condo in Teaneck. And that’s not about to happen.
Leslie Savan points out the importance of the Working Families Party in de Blasio's political support system.