De Blasio: We're Supposed to Be for 70% Tax Rate, Free College

June 26, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his support for 70 percent tax rate early during the Democratic debate on MSNBC Wednesday night, contrasting his positions with former congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Moderator Jose Diaz-Balart asked de Blasio what he would do to "address income inequality" as president.

In response, the mayor laid out a host of progressive policy proposals. "Well, we’ve been addressing income inequality in New York City," de Blasio said. "By raising wages, by raising benefits, by putting money back in the hands of working people, fifteen dollar minimum wage, paid sick days, pre-K for all, things that are making a huge difference in working people’s lives."

Bill de Blasio then took time to affirm his position that the Democratic party should be fully committed to a thoroughly progressive economic platform.

"This is supposed to be the part of working people," de Blasio said. "Yes, we’re supposed to be for 70% tax rate on the wealthy, yes, we’re supposed to be for free college, free public college, for our young people. We are supposed to break up big corporations when they’re not serving our democracy. This Democratic party has to be strong and bold and progressive."

The mayor closed out his answer with a familiar talking point.

"Every time you talk about investing in people and their communities you hear folks say there’s not enough money. What I say to them every single time is, there’s plenty of money in this world there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands. We democrats need to fix that."

Bill de Blasio’s unrestrained comments on economic policy stood in contrast to the answer given by O’Rourke to a similar question moments before. O’Rourke dodged a direct question about whether he would support a 70 percent marginal tax rate.

"I would support a tax rate and a tax code that is fair to everyone," O’Rourke said. "Tax capital at the same rate that you tax ordinary income, take that corporate tax rate up to 28 percent, you would generate the revenues that you need to pay for the programs that we’re talking about."