- Yang said that he’ll work to convince New Yorkers to return to the city from places like Florida.
- He said that people will pay a premium “as long as we can make the case that New York City is back.”
- Yang stressed that the private sector would play a critical role in the city’s economic recovery.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang says that if he’s elected to office this year, he’ll work to convince New Yorkers who fled to Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic to return, calling the Sunshine State “boring.”
During an episode of “The New Abnormal” featuring editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast, Yang described the importance of the business sector in helping revive New York’s economic fortunes to ensure that people will want to come back to the city.
“The goal has to be to try to justify the premium that organizations and individuals have paid to be in New York City because the opportunities here are better, the culture is better, the quality of life is better,” he said. “It’s a very tough sell when your costs are much higher and you can’t really make those arguments as compellingly.
He added: “My perspective running New York City is that we’re going to need the private sector to be a huge part of the recovery. We have lost approximately 300,000 New Yorkers, some of whom were very high earners and high taxpayers, where they decided to go someplace like Florida because they thought they could save a lot of money on taxes. That’s something we should be aware of try to to counteract.”
Yang said that he would stress school reopenings and the city’s enduring cultural appeal in convincing former residents to return to the city.
“I’m going to be calling people, saying, ‘Look, Florida’s boring.’ You had a good time there but come on back,” he said during the interview. “And by the way, the schools are open. The shows are open. Your friends are here and you know, you can pay a premium as long as we can make the case that New York City is back.”
When Jong-Fast posed the question of how to placate wealthy New Yorkers who are fed up with the increased tax burden, Yang said that he’d like to tackle property tax reform in his potential administration.
“I have some of the same conversations, and the city itself does not control most of the taxes that the people you’re describing talk about,” he said. “The municipal government controls property taxes. There are issues with the property taxes that I would like to change and reform. But most of what you’re describing is happening in Albany, where they’re talking about higher state income taxes.”
Yang is currently competing in a competitive Democratic primary that includes Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former Civilian Complaint Review Board chair Maya Wiley, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and longtime Wall Street executive Ray McGuire, among others.
The Democratic and Republican primaries will both be held in June, with the respective winners advancing to the November general election.