Sliwa, who is unlikely to win the mayor’s race because of the high numbers of Democrats in New York, criticized Adams’ hobnobbing with city elites and trendy teenage TikTokers, claiming that the Brooklyn Borough President was more fixed on “keeping up with the Kardashians” and “raising the roof” than he was on the issues facing the city.

Mayoral candidates Eric Adams, left, and Curtis Sliwa, right.


Addressing New Yorkers on Tuesday, Curtis Sliwa, the Republican nominee for New York City mayor, criticized Democrat Eric Adams, his chief rival in the race, over some of Adams’ economic recovery plans, including a proposal to tax the city’s wealthy to help subsidize transit costs.

“Eric Adams, time and time again, said he would advocate for free fare,” Sliwa said Tuesday afternoon during a virtual press conference.

“Naturally the knee jerk reaction is, ‘Okay, Eric, how would that be paid for?’” Sliwa added. And he said, ‘Well, we would tax the wealthy, the rich, the well-to-do, the Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street. That’s how we could subsidize the MTA system.’”

Read more coverage on the upcoming 2021 NYC elections here.

Sliwa’s comments come a day after Adams expressed the desire to make New York a more business-friendly city, with leadership that will lure emerging industries and collaborate further with private businesses to advance public interests. 

READ MORE: Eric Adams Promises To Change NYC’s ‘Anti-Business’ Reputation

A press release sent out by the Guardian Angels founder Tuesday called his rival’s plans “specious” and linked to a video clip of Adams being asked what one thing he would do if he were in control of the MTA. “I would make it free,” Adams responds in the undated clip, posted to YouTube by Sliwa’s team. “Those who could afford to pay more in taxes would pay more in taxes.”

In plans published over the course of his mayoral campaign, Adams has backed what he calls “a modest increase” to the income taxes levied on New Yorkers who make more than $5 million a year. This would generate $1 to 2 billion each year, his campaign said, money aimed squarely at the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A possible increase in taxes on high earners would need authority from Albany to enact, Adams’ campaign said, and would not be permanent—according to the candidate’s current plan, any spike in taxes would sunset after two years.

Still, Sliwa pounced on the proposal, one of a few ideas his campaign dismissed as “hypocritical” on Tuesday.

Sliwa has called for private universities and colleges, like Columbia University and NYU, to lose their property tax privileges, demanding they pay their “fair share” of taxes. Entertainment venues like Madison Square Garden would lose these privileges too, under the current Sliwa plan. A spokesperson for Sliwa’s campaign says the money raised from these property taxes would be used to hire 3,000 additional police officers.

Sliwa has also proposed a two percent cap on the city’s annual property tax levy.

“This plan eliminates unfair tax benefits and ensures that New York City’s low- and middle-income communities are no longer forced to subsidize the City’s wealthiest residents and neighborhoods,” his campaign website said. “As the boldest tax proposal of any mayoral candidate in recent history, this plan will finally deliver the tax equality and fairness that has eluded New York City since the 1980s.”

Taxes were one of a number of topics covered in Sliwa’s Tuesday press conference, which included remarks about Adams’ alleged record of speeding (and other traffic violations) in his city-issued vehicle, according to reporting by StreetsBlog NYC.

Sliwa, who is unlikely to win the mayor’s race because of the high numbers of Democrats in New York, also criticized Adams’ recent hobnobbing with city elites and trendy teenage TikTokers, claiming that the Brooklyn borough president was more fixed on “keeping up with the Kardashians” and “raising the roof” than he was on the issues facing the city.

“I can’t imagine what a mayoral candidate will be doing at a private club two nights in a row at 1:30 in the morning,” Sliwa said. “I would suggest you do what I’ve been doing, which is to go to Rikers Island and deal with the crisis at hand. It’s not on the dance floor at Zero Bond or any other nightclub.”

Adams and Sliwa will face off in two debates next month, ahead of the November general election.

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