July 2, 2007
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been touted as the ideal presidential candidate -- a nonpartisan CEO and the perfect combination of a social liberal and fiscal conservative. But even a cursory analysis of his five-year record demonstrates the absurdity of the "fiscal conservative" moniker, says Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth.
- Bloomberg began his first term with a firm pledge not to raise taxes, but seven months later, he raised taxes on cigarettes from eight cents to $1.50, followed by another 50-cent increase in 2006.
- He followed the initial cigarette tax hike by proposing a whopping 25 percent property-tax increase, eventually reduced to 18.5 percent by his Democratic City Council.
- In 2003, he raised the city's income and sales taxes; which helped a study by New York City's Independent Budget Office to conclude that the tax burden in the city is 90 percent higher than the average of other major cities.
Naturally, these tax hikes went hand-in-hand with a dramatic increase in city-funded spending, says Toomey:
- Over Bloomberg's first term, spending increased by an average of 10 percent per year, according to New York City's Independent Budget Office.
- That increase easily surpassed the 2.84 percent average during Rudy Giuliani's two terms and even beats out David Dinkins' four-year spending spree.
Calling Mike Bloomberg a fiscal conservative doesn't actually make him one, says Toomey. As a presidential candidate, the Independent Mike Bloomberg may not bear a party name, but his ideology is pretty hard to distinguish from the Democratic Party to which he belonged not so long ago.
Source: Pat Toomey, "Tax-Hike Mike," Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2007.
Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues