Mr. de Blasio’s agenda threatens that achievement, and before next Tuesday’s vote any serious New Yorker, Democrat or Republican, should understand what his intentions are. Herewith, a summary:
• Daily security. The city’s murder rate is at its lowest since the 1960s. This plunge is the direct result of police reforms begun under Mr. Giuliani, including current police commissioner Ray Kelly’s stop-and-frisk program to reduce violent street crime. Mr. de Blasio repudiates these police practices, and he says he won’t appeal the August ruling by federal Judge Shira Scheindlin that called them unconstitutional. This threatens public safety.
• Taxes. Incomes above $500,000 in New York City are subject to city, state and federal taxes that take the combined top marginal rate to more than 50%. Mr. de Blasio wants more. To finance a new pre-K education program, he wants to raise the city’s income tax rate of 3.876% to 4.41%. Given his spending agenda, he’ll have to raise property taxes, too.
• Philanthropy. New York is the philanthropy capital of the world, supporting everything from the arts to food-distribution networks. Bill de Blasio wants even charitable money to start flowing through him, too. He’s proposing that private park conservancies with operating budgets over $5 million give 20% of it for redistribution to other parks. The conservancies were established precisely because the city didn’t maintain the parks. Many donors would stop giving.
• Schools. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the mayor’s office took control of public schools from the union-dominated school board and the cap on independent public charter schools expanded to 200, most in the poorest neighborhoods. Aligning himself with the teachers union, Mr. de Blasio will reverse this growth. “There is no way in hell that Eva Moskowitzshould get free rent, okay? They should have to pay rent,” he has declared.
Eva Moskowitz is a leading reformer who has helped charter schools “co-locate” in public-school buildings to avoid New York’s sky-high rents. When Mr. de Blasio charges them rent, the charter schools in New York, slowly but without doubt, will start to wither. Some 20,000 inner-city parents and their children recently marched across Brooklyn Bridge in opposition to the de Blasio schools agenda.
• Union contracts. Nearly all of the city’s major union contracts have expired and need to be renegotiated, a major Bloomberg failure. Mr. de Blasio says unions deserve at least partial retroactive pay increases (which would reward union recalcitrance) and he has laid out no reforms in pensions or work rules. As pensions grow as a share of the city budget, this would lock in spending commitments for years and increase pressure for higher taxes.
• Jobs. Mr. de Blasio wants a mandated “living wage” of $11.75 an hour on all city or city-subsidized projects, including retail stores. And he wants to make New York the first city in the U.S. that mandates paid family leave of 12 weeks. The most left-wing city council in years will pass both. Job creation will decline.
• Housing. He promises to build or preserve 200,000 affordable-housing units by various means, including mandates on developers, a policy that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock recently called a failure there. Mr. de Blasio also proposes to tap the city’s pension funds to invest in this housing, and he wants to strengthen rent controls. These policies would cause the city’s housing stock to diminish and deteriorate.
[W] hat’s striking about Bill de Blasio is how unreconstructed a man of the left he remains.
In the 1980s he romanced the revolutionary Marxism of Nicaragua’s Sandinistas, Castro’s communism and even Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Even now he praises their idealism, including that hoariest of clichés that Cuba has a model health-care system. South Bronx residents would picket City Hall if they had Cuba’s health care.
The city’s Public Advocate has held no real job, but Mr. de Blasio purports that he can run the most complex city in the U.S. guided by a wish list that would make Al Sharpton blush to propose it. It’s a sign of his Occupy ambition that New York optimists say they are counting on Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to rein in Mr. de Blasio. You know you’re out on a limb when you’re counting on Albany for rational governance. New Yorkers are resilient, and if they elect Bill de Blasio the odds are they will have to be.
The scary part of all this is that, for now, productive people can just leave New York and escape; Obama and his crowd are working to impose deBlasio’s “progressivism” nationally so there will be no way out.