It appears that the mayor, much like he did in 2002, is already backing away from his pledge to "do more with less" in favor of possible new taxes. As his press spokesman Jordan Barowitz says in today's NY Sun, "He never said 'I swear I won't raise taxes in the second term'...He never said that." Here we go again.
The mayor's first target of course is the commuter tax which, because it targets folks outside of the city, is generally popular. What the fans of this tax fail to realize is that the firms all of these commuters work for are already heavily taxed and this additional levy increases the burden on the companies and decreases their profitability.
The real issue, however, is that the commuter tax only goes so far to reducing a projected $4 billion deficit. What the mayor will do next is the intriguing question and the statements of his press aide should be seen as an ominous signal to city taxpayers.
If Bloomberg attempts to repeat the scenario of 2002 it will be very interesting to see the nature of the public reaction. We seriously doubt that we'll be seeing any Teflon Mike headlines if a new round of tax increases are proposed and then enacted.
The Sun's editorial, which we saw after writing this post, makes an even stronger point. The mayor appears to be saying that his no tax pledge only applies to spending for any new programs. Now that's really funny because we followed the entire tax issue pretty closely and we never remember any such nuanced parsing of the mayor's pledge.
Bloomberg is simply reverting to type. This "fearlessness" on the tax issue is precisely what has endeared him to the editorial page of the NY Times. It could also lead him to a very Bush-like undoing (both senior and junior in this case).