July 25, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Mayoral candidate John Liu was endorsed by the New York contingent of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at City Hall on Wednesday, and on the day that President Barack Obama gave a major economic speech, Mr. Liu said while the country’s wealth gap is a problem, the City’s wealth gap is far worse. Watch Video
“The top 1 percent nationally controls 17 percent of the wealth. In New York City, the top 1 percent controls 33 percent of the city’s wealth. That is a huge concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and it actually curtails our future economic growth and recovery,” Liu said.
President Obama spoke at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois on Wednesday, where he delivered the commencement address in 2005 as an Illinois Senator, and said that the country’s growing income inequality poses a serious threat to the middle class.
According to a transcript of Wednesday’s speech, the President said, “This growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it’s bad economics. Because when middle-class families have less to spend, guess what, businesses have fewer consumers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther and farther apart, it undermines the very essence of America—that idea that if you work hard you can make it here.”
Mr. Liu said one way as mayor he would reduce the City’s wealth gap would be to implement a more progressive income tax to give middle-class families more tax relief.
“It makes little sense that a family that makes $50,000 a year in New York City pays almost the same rate of income tax as a family that makes $50 million a year. I’ve proposed a plan of cutting income taxes for 99 percent of New Yorkers and at the same time would raise an additional $250 million to $1 billion in revenue to the city’s budget,” said Liu.
According to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll done between July 18 and July 23, Mr. Liu received 7 percent of the vote from 1,340 New Yorkers surveyed, with Anthony Weiner in the race. If Mr. Weiner drops out, Mr. Liu gets 10 percent.
Lillian Roberts, AFSCME DC 37’s Executive Director, said don’t believe the polls.
“Ignore the polls. Let us be the polls and let us work for the person who really deserves our support because he supported us,” said Roberts.
When asked if he’s dissuaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg suing him for rejecting two municipal contracts for operating homeless shelters in the South Bronx and the Upper West Side, Mr. Liu was defiant.
“I’m encouraged. Mayor Bloomberg has threatened to sue me almost from the very first day I took office as comptroller. Just because he wants a contract here or there, as comptroller I’m supposed to be just a rubber stamp. No, I was never elected to become a rubber stamp for anybody.”
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