Quinn on not wanting to soak the rich after all

Mike Gianaris, Quinn, Peter Vallone, and Julissa Ferreras. (Dana Rubinstein)
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Today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she doesn't actually want to raise taxes on the wealthy, as she once indicated, and she's still not a fan of paid sick leave, even in its new, watered-down form.

Yesterday, the Manhattan Institute's E.J. McMahon wrote a column in the New York Post pointing out that all of the likely mayoral candidates have, in recent years, endorsed tax hikes on the well-to-do.

Today, the Wall Street Journal followed up, reporting that, two of those candidates—Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson—have since backed off those proposals. A third candidate, Tom Allon, wasn't mentioned in the McMahon article because he's a longshot, but the Journal pointed out that he's against tax hikes. 

Though Quinn has been selectively distancing herself from the mayor recently in advance of next year's liberal-dominated Democratic mayoral primary, she has developed close and helpful ties to the city's business establishment, and wishes to maintain them.

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Asked why she has abandoned her 2009 position in favor of tax hikes on those earning more than $300,000 a year, Quinn attributed it to other factors.

"[M]ost of the actual increase on what upper income New Yorkers were paying that we called for in 2009 happened," said Quinn, referring to tax hikes by Governors David Paterson and Andrew Cuomo. "Two, our proposal put out in 2009 was put out in a particular moment of severe fiscal crisis, a, and b, in response to a proposal to broadly expand the sales tax, which in my opinion is the most regressive tax out there. We were able to scale that increase in the sales tax back significantly."

Quinn said she wasn't ruling out tax increases entirely, but she was ruling out property tax increases, kind of.

"I think I could stand here again saying we will not raise property ta...," she cut herself off and rephrased. "I do not want to raise property taxes in the 2014 budget."

Her spokesman later clarified that property tax hikes are entirely off the table.

Unrelated, a reporter asked her about paid sick leave legislation, which she has held up in the Council.

Councilman Daniel Garodnick recently proposed a weaker version of a bill that would require some business owners to give employees five days of paid sick leave a year.

Is she open to that proposal? And does Quinn have any response to ongoing efforts to convince her to allow the the Council, a majority of which support the legislation, to vote on the bill?

"No and no," she said.