From WNBC's Jay DeDapper
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the summer gas tax holiday, arguing "the last thing we need to do is encourage people to drive." He praised Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (first time since congestion pricing died a predictable death in Albany) and Barack Obama for opposing "one of the dumbest ideas" he says he's ever heard.
*** UPDATE *** Per the mayor's office, here's the transcript of the exchange on the gas tax holiday:
REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, earlier this year, Speaker Quinn had proposed a sales tax free week and also a $300 renters rebate. I was wondering if either of those things are in the budget?
MAYOR: Neither is in the budget. I think as- its going to be hard enough to make sure we don't hurt anybody with cutbacks that denigrate- that degrade the quality of living in this City. At the same time, don't make the taxpayer's situation any worse. I thought it was fascinating- Shelly Silver, I thought very responsibly, came out against this idea of a summer break on gasoline taxes which would help Chavez and Kudafi and people like- other people like that. I don't know why anybody would want to do it. It's fascinating because his presidential- favorite presidential candidate's on the other side of it. So you know, they just split in terms of what they think. I thought Shelly Silver was- was right and Obama was right. McCain and Clinton were wrong. The last thing we need to do is to encourage people to drive more and to take away the monies we need for infrastructure in this country. And that's what reducing taxes does.
REPORTER: Could you elaborate on your opposition to giving drivers a break from the gas tax and how-
MAYOR: It's about the dumbest thing I've heard in an awful long time from an economic point of view. I don't understand why you think there's any merit to it whatsoever. We're trying to discourage people from driving and we're trying to end our energy dependence. You don't do that- and incidentally, and we're trying to have more money to build infrastructure. All three of those things go- fly in the face of giving everybody 30 bucks a year. The 30 bucks is not going to change anybody's lifestyle. The billions of dollars that we would otherwise have in tax revenues can make a big difference as to what kind of a world we leave our children.
REPORTER: And what would you say to Joe Bruno, who's advocating for it?
Mayor: I have no idea. I haven't talked to Joe Bruno about it. You'd have to say something to Joe Bruno. I- that's- I just do not think that it is intelligent tax policy and it's not a good energy policy. It is something that, you know, sounds good but I thought in this case Obama had it right.