It's an unusual talking point for a presidential candidate:

"Remember, when I was mayor, I raised taxes dramatically on people, particularly the wealthy," Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference in Arizona on Tuesday. "Why? Because we needed to pay for our municipal services."

But given the progressive push for higher taxes on the wealthy, it's something Bloomberg is bragging about.

That wasn't always the case.


"We cannot drive people and business out of New York. We cannot raise taxes. We will find another way," Bloomberg said during his inauguration speech in 2002.

Eleven months later, that pledge was broken.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, a fiscal crisis came along with massive budget deficits. Bloomberg drastically increased property taxes. The following year, he increased the personal income tax rate for higher-income households.

"It is painful, but it is the right thing to do," he said in 2003.

Another recession came around years later, and Bloomberg increased property taxes again. Then, the sales tax and the hotel tax — tax increases that were necessary, he argued.

But as the economy improved, Bloomberg's message seemed to change.

"We could get every billionaire around the world to move here," he said in 2013. "It would be a godsend."

And he made it clear that he did not support additional taxes on the wealthy.

"If you want to drive out the one percent of the people that roughly pay 50 percent of the taxes, or the 10 percent of the people that pay 70-odd percent of the taxes, that's as good a strategy as I know," he said in 2012. "It is about a dumb a policy as I can think of."

He even repeated that idea earlier this year in New Hampshire.

"If you want to look at a system that's non-capitalistic, just take a look at what was perhaps the wealthiest country in the world, and today people are starving to death," Bloomberg said in January. "It's called Venezuela."

During his presidential stump speech now, Bloomberg says he wants to tax wealthier people.

But when asked specifically about a wealth tax, the new presidential candidate seemed to retreat to his old footing:

"A wealth tax has been tried in a number of countries, I think France the last time," he said. "It just doesn't work."

Bloomberg's team told NY1 that the mayor will release a detailed plan on how as president he would tax the wealthy more. It's unclear when we will see those details.



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