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NEW YORK—Since winning the Republican nomination for mayor on Sept. 10, Joe Lhota stepped up his talk about increasing jobs in the city. Lhota made his statements, however, without releasing any more than a few lines on his website as to how he would create jobs.
After taking a ribbing in the press on his missing-in-action jobs plan, Lhota relented, releasing a fuller plan on Friday.
Lhota’s job growth plan relies heavily on reducing taxes and fines on small business, which he says will promote job growth.
To help businesses, Lhota said he wants to lower the General Corporation Tax, phase out the Commercial Rent Tax, reform the Unincorporated Business Tax, and lower the hotel tax.
In addition, Lhota said he would like to lower property taxes, which is the city’s largest source of revenue. For fiscal year 2014, the city expects to take in $19.6 billion. Lhota did not give a specific rate that he would like to lower the property tax to.
For fiscal year 2014, which began in June, the city was expected to take in $2.6 billion from the General Corporation Tax, $1.8 billion from the Unincorporated Business Tax, $686 million from the Commercial Rent Tax, and $513 million from the hotel tax, according to figures provided by the Citizens Budget Commission.
Lhota said he would not eliminate the taxes, so not all the revenue would be lost, but the reduced revenue from lower taxes will have to be made up through other revenue sources.
“We don’t have a revenue problem in the city of New York, we have a spending problem,” Lhota said outside Margarita Restaurant in Jackson Heights Queens following a walking tour. “You can’t just look at the city of New York and just say increase, increase, increase. We need to have a more comprehensive approach.”
Lhota said that, when he was the budget director under Rudy Giuliani, he found four to five percent savings while cutting taxes, and did not believe the decreased revenue would cause the budget to be unbalanced.
Lhota, much like his Democratic counterpart Bill de Blasio, rallied against continuing to fine small businesses, which has proved to be a way for the Bloomberg administration to plug their budget holes.
“They look at small biz owners like an ATM machine,” Lhota said. “They are using small business as a way to balance the budget. We should never ever be using fines to balance the budget.”
Lhota’s job policy looks to extend several of the growth initiatives that have been successful under current mayor Michael Bloomberg. Lhota said he wants to continue to support tourism, which has been a boon for jobs, even when the economy dipped during the 2008 recession.
Lhota countered a reporter’s summation that his policies would just be extending Bloomberg’s. Lhota will continue to support the tourism and high-tech industry like Bloomberg, but Lhota will focus on the biotech industry as well.
Lhota noted many great colleges in New York City are teaching biomedical studies, but the products are built elsewhere.
“The brains are here, but the products aren’t here,” Lhota said.