New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday suggested that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was wrong to call on wealthy New Yorkers to return to the city amid the coronavirus pandemic and an uptick in crime.
The Democrat also threatened to tax the wealthy even further if the federal government does not do more to assist the city, which is facing the worst financial crisis in decades.
Cuomo on Tuesday had urged wealthy New Yorkers to return to Manhattan to assist the city with the financial burden caused by the pandemic, saying coronavirus is now “under control.”
Thousands of apartments were vacated as the wealthy fled the city during the pandemic to seek refuge in places such as the Hamptons and Connecticut.
A reporter at de Blasio’s press conference brought up Cuomo’s concerns, asking: “Is the city keeping track of how many residents have left since the pandemic and the crime wave?”
CUOMO CALLS ON WEALTHY NEW YORKERS TO COME BACK TO THE CITY: ‘I’LL BUY YOU A DRINK!’
De Blasio said the city was tracking those who’d left. He acknowledged the recent uptick in crime, but said it was “directly related to coronavirus.” He said the crime situation would soon “turn around” as the New York Police Department (NYPD) is deploying new strategies and because “summer will be over soon.”
“To the point of the folks out in the Hamptons… we don’t make decisions based on a wealthy few,” de Blasio said. “I was troubled to hear this concept.”
“There’s a lot of New Yorkers who are wealthy who are true believers in New York City and will stand and fight with us, and some may be fair-weathered friends, but they will be replaced by others,” the mayor continued.
Cuomo in a press conference earlier this week detailed his pleas with the wealthy to return to New York City. “I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You gotta come back, when are you coming back?’” the Democratic governor said.
“We’ll go to dinner, I’ll buy you a drink, come over, I’ll cook’,” Cuomo said.
“They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking? ‘If I stay there, I pay a lower income tax,’ because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge,” Cuomo said.
BEHIND THE PUBLIC BICKERING: HOW CUOMO, DE BLASIO WENT FROM DEMOCRATIC ALLIES TO BITTER ENEMIES
The governor has also been fighting back against recent calls to raise taxes on the wealthy to help with the $30 billion deficit the city has incurred from the pandemic — arguing this will be the nail in the coffin that prompts the wealthy to hold off on returning to the city.
“Our population, one percent of the population [of New York City] pays 50 percent of the taxes. And they’re the most mobile people on the globe,” Cuomo said.
De Blasio, for his part, has pushed for more taxes on the wealthy. “We must build our policies around working people,” he said. “If the federal government fails us we should immediately return to Albany to the discussion put a tax on wealthy New Yorkers.”
“While everyone else is suffering, you see stock markets rising, the rich getting richer. Wealthy New Yorkers, they can pay a bit more so can get through this crisis,” de Blasio continued.
De Blasio during his press conference also advised New Yorkers against buying a car. “My advice to New Yorkers is don’t buy a car, cars are the past, future is mass transit, biking, hiking,” the mayor said. “Going forward I will never buy a car again.”
The intraparty feud between the mayor and governor has peaked during the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread police brutality protests, though the tension between the two dates back to the ’90s.
Throughout the pandemic, Cuomo repeatedly reminded de Blasio that lockdown decisions needed to be made on a statewide level.
For instance, De Blasio announced in April that public schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year in the effort to quell the coronavirus spread — only for Cuomo three hours later to refer to it as little more than an “opinion” and hint that a decision had not yet been made by his office.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
In July, Cuomo took aim at de Blasio and the city council’s move to cull $1 billion from the NYPD amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, saying that he didn’t “know what it means.”
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.