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Giuliani to REW: 'we must reduce taxes.' (New York, New York mayoral candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani addresses Real Estate Weekly staff)

In order to make the property tax system more equitable in New York City, Rudolph Giuliani would not raise the taxes of those that pay less, but, instead, reduce the taxes of those that are treated unfairly.

"We cannot present the prospect of increased taxes for any group," he said, noting that tax hikes for single-family home owners, those who carry the smallest share of the tax burden, would "erode" the city's middle-class population.

The man who would like to be the next mayor of the City of New York made the offices of Hagedom Communications and Real Estate Weekly a stop on the campaign trail last week. He shared his views on taxes, housing, crime and education with a number of Hagedom editors.

In keeping with the recommendations of the Citizens Budget Commission, Giuliani said he would use roughly half the money saved through reducing government to lower taxes. The Dinkins administration is taking $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion more from the public than the Koch administration, Giuliani said.

"We've got to be looking to tax deductions," he said.

First, on his hit list, he said, would be to lower the income tax surcharge. He would also phase out the commercial rent tax in four to six years and lower the unincorporated business tax. Another tax, he would tackle -- one he called a "no brainer" -- is the 21.25 percent hotel tax.

"David Dinkins doesn't get it," he said. "If you increase a tax or a fare, you lose money.

"I understand how the economy operates," he said.

On Shrinking Government ...

The former federal prosecutor said he would reduce the number of municipal employees to between 180,000 and 185,000 from the estimated 215,000 to 220,000 people currently working for the city. The education reform plan he released last week, for example, favors increasing the salaries of in-class teachers by cutting the administrative ranks.

Does fewer municipal workers mean fewer police and firemen? "An across-the-board reduction in government is never an across-the-board reduction in government," replied Giuliani

What does that mean? Certain agencies, could justify their existence, he explained, and he is aware that the Dinkins administration has already cut funds to the fire department. In terms of the police department, he said, the Safe City/Safe Streets tax was a "disaster" that helped create the budget mess. Giuliani wants to see certain police duties "civilianized" and arraignment periods shortened.

On Homeless and Housing ...

Giuliani said he would move in rem property faster and would reverse Dinkins' decision to move away from disposing property to for-profit concerns. Large numbers of abandoned buildings, he said, are not being moved.

In terms of siting housing for the homeless, Giuliani knocked the fair-share program, which, he said, "could really be described as a program that would bring down every neighborhood ... "

He suggested exploring possibilities in "mixed-use or industrial areas." But then again, he said, he had experiencing in convincing neighborhoods when decisions had to be made on where to locate prisons.

"Some of the exaggerated fears can be removed," he said.

On Rent Regulation ...

Giuliani said he is in favor of preserving rent regulation. Dinkins has mis-quoted him as saying rent control was "too emotional" an issue, he said. Rather, he said, he believes major change in the system is unachievable and not worth the "fear" it could instill in citizens that require the rent laws.

"To create for them the fear they are going to be on the street, isn't worth the small reform that can be achieved," he said.

This comes from the same man who 30 minutes earlier said on education issues: "The apologists for the system will tell you everything is impossible. "
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Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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