Inheritance Tax

Smith, Benjamin
March 2003
New Republic;3/10/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 9, p12
Offers observations on conservative public opinion of the tax policies of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg. It's not hard to pinpoint the day New York conservatives turned on the new Republican mayor, Michael Bloomberg. It was the day he made the case for a 25 percent property tax hike. What's strange about this venom is that--on the issues that matter most--Bloomberg is carrying the flag of the hero of New York's right, Rudolph Giuliani. Two divisive policy questions defined the Giuliani years: policing and welfare. Bloomberg has stayed the course on both, keeping crime falling and the welfare rolls shrinking. Giuliani's departure left a huge hole in New York's public life, and on its evening-news broadcasts, which Bloomberg hasn't tried to fill. But conservatives are so obsessed with taxes that the issue squeezes out all other policy considerations. The tax hike abruptly turned conservative opinion and Republican officials against the mayor. And the wisdom of Bloomberg's mix of tax hikes and service cuts is debatable. But, in their fury at Bloomberg, conservatives are targeting the victim. He didn't swell the payroll himself, and he didn't drive the spending up to record levels. Giuliani did. The crudest reason for this anger is patronage. Bloomberg's personality and his cultural inclinations also made Giuliani's conservative backers suspicious.


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