Originally Published:Sunday, August 1st 2010, 2:00 PM
Updated: Sunday, August 1st 2010, 9:53 PM
Mayor Bloomberg backs extending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy for a few more years, saying Sunday it will help the economy recover.
The cuts, for the 2% of Americans who earn more than $250,000, are set to expire at the end of the year, and a battle looms in Congress over whether to extend them or let them die. Democrats say letting them expire would add $681 billion to federal coffers over 10 years.
"But you couple it with long-term solutions," he said. "And you have to look at what's politically possible."
Bloomberg, the richest person in New York and presumably one of its top taxpayers, has consistently rejected calls by city and state lawmakers to balance budgets by raising taxes on the highest earners.
He had not previously weighed in on the federal cuts.
"He supports extending [the federal tax cuts] for everyone a couple of years as part of a comprehensive solution to both our short-term and long-term economic and budgetary challenges," Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told the Daily News.
President Obama campaigned on getting rid of the tax breaks for the rich, part of sweeping tax cuts his predecessor made when the budget was still in surplus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday she hopes to bring it to a vote before November's midterm elections.
Supply-siders say that because wealthy people might spend less money, raising taxes on the rich would further hurt an economy reeling from debt and recession.
Obama's economists say growth won't be affected by taxing the rich.
"I don't think you want to run the risk that they are wrong," Bloomberg told "Meet the Press" host David Gregory. To protect Wall Street, Bloomberg has lobbied against banking reform, warning against taking "shortsighted ... punitive actions" against the financial industry.
He opposed Albany's tax on out-of-state hedge fund executives who make more than $500,000 a year, calling it a job killer, and legislation that will cut the charitable-giving write-offs for people who make more than $10 million a year.
Bloomberg said the new taxes will drive fat cats out of state. The two state measures should bring in a combined $150 million a year.
Also on "Meet the Press," Bloomberg once again said he would not run for President in 2012.