Is Mayor de Blasio even interested in his day job anymore? His remarks after (finally) sitting down this week with the New York City Transit chief sure suggest all he really cares about is scoring points with the national progressive movement.
After all, the mayor only met with the guy in charge of the city’s subways and buses after Andy Byford had been on the job six months, and after the fact that they hadn’t spoken made headlines.
Only hours before, de Blasio basically belittled Byford’s Fast Forward plan to get the bedraggled transit system into 21st-century shape, calling it nothing but “a charade” unless Albany gives him more money.
The transit chief agreed on the need for money — but stressed that he’s expecting “substantial contributions from the city.”
The mayor naturally took the chance to again push a millionaire’s tax — his answer for everything, but even more of a non-starter in New York since Congress drastically capped the write-off for state and local taxes.
Yes, Gov. Cuomo effectively controls the MTA. Yet that didn’t stop past mayors from meeting regularly with city transit chiefs, especially in time of crisis — because the subway is New York City’s lifeblood.
Heck, Mayor Michael Bloomberg even found a way for the city to fund the extension of the No. 7 line, rather than pointlessly whining that someone else should pay.
But de Blasio’s stance, after his Byford sitdown, was: “I’m going to put my focus on the things I can control.” Really? Then why did he jaunt to the border last month — other than to exploit the family-separation crisis for some national press? He has zero control of the Border Patrol, ICE and so on.
“People need me to make sure the things I can control are working,” he also said.
Well, de Blasio controls the city Housing Authority (even resenting Cuomo’s efforts to horn in). But no one in his right mind would say that’s working. Indeed, a federal judge this week declared NYCHA “in crisis,” doubting that it’s even fixable.
And for all the talk of “things I can control,” the millionaire’s tax is something he can’t control: It’s up to state lawmakers.
So what if “the ultimate sign of a progressive is whether they’d be willing to tax the wealthy”? Governing this town isn’t about showing how virtuous you are.
De Blasio doesn’t lack for revenue: He controls a budget tens of billions bigger than any other US mayor’s. If he actually spent his time focusing on “what I can control,” the city wouldn’t be stuck lurching from crisis to crisis.
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