Let them leave.
That was the blunt message Mayor de Blasio had for well-heeled New Yorkers fleeing the city because of the coronavirus, rising crime, unemployment and other factors — even though the top 1 percent of earners pay nearly half the Big Apple’s income taxes.
A reporter asked Hizzoner during a virtual City Hall press briefing Monday for his plan to stem the tide of deep-pocketed constituents abandoning the Big Apple.
“I don’t understand honestly how any New Yorkers can participate in the discussion about these fears about the future of New York City,” de Blasio said. “I don’t mind having fear I don’t mind having questions, but if you don’t think New York City is not coming back then you don’t know New York City.
“Some people may decide they want to go somewhere else for a period of time and as the situation in New York City improves. They’ll come back. Some people may not and I guarantee you they’ll be replaced by others who will bring a lot of creativity and talent,” he added.
“If folks miss the theater, if they miss the indoor dining, those things will be back. They’ll be back next year at some point,” he said.
Despite his false bravado over the exodus, de Blasio admitted he’s not planning that far ahead right now because he’s still focused on more immediate matters like reopening schools on Sept. 10.
“I think when we get into the fall that’s exactly the time to really talk about the future of the city, the bigger vision for our economy and our people…and what everyone needs to do to bring the city back,” he said.
Mayoral Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt gave a more succinct response about rich New Yorkers jumping ship.
“Kick rocks billionaires,” Neidhardt tweeted earlier this month in response to a New York Times article about the city’s shrinking tax base that cover basic government services.
New York’s highest income earners, making over $710,000, pay 43 percent of the city’s and 51 percent of the state’s income taxes– or more than the lowest-earning 90 percent combined, according to the Empire Center.
The state faces massive deficits due to the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.
Leading business leaders — including ones who frequently work with City Hall — have said de Blasio’s remarks are counterproductive to recovery efforts.
“It’s a big concern that we’re going to lose more of our tax base then we’ve already lost,” Kathy Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, said recently on WABC 770 AM’s “The Cats Roundtable” radio show.
She warned that wealthy New Yorkers would stay in the Hamptons or Palm Beach, Florida, if local taxes increase.
“The threats of raising taxes on the wealthy. That concerns me, because we should be… trying to figure out how to get the half million people who left the city for the COVID… to come back,” she said.
It’s not just the super rich who are heading for the exits.
City moving companies say they’ve been overwhelmed by the avalanche of business since June.
Moon Salahie, owner of Elite Moving & Storing in Yonkers, told The Post this weekend that most of his recent customers are middle class families decamping to the suburbs because they’re worried about the school year.
“The least movement would be the Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue crowds,” he said. “Those people don’t have to leave because they have second homes.”