Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bloomberg for Governor (of Globalization)

What does the resignation of Elliot Spitzer as governor of New York have to do with globalization?

Well, potentially a lot.

If you live outside of New York, you may not have thought much about the rumors surrounding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's now ruled out run for the White House. Conventional wisdom held that Bloomberg fancied his chances as an independent candidate in a three-way race against Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, but wouldn't entertain a run against either John McCain or Barack Obama. Almost immediately, his decision not to run gave way to a new set of rumors. Namely, that billionaire Mayor Mike, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent, has set his sights on Albany instead.

A just released Quinnipiac University poll found that fully three-quarters of city residents want him to run for governor in 2010. Although the survey was conducted prior to the Spitzer revelations, someone created a Bloomberg for Governor page on Facebook one hour after the story broke on Monday.

So what does this all add up to?

David Paterson, the current Lieutenant Governor who is slated to become Governor March 17, will serve out the remainder of Spitzer's elected term. This will likely impact Bloomberg's 2010 decision calculus. As divisive a figure as Spitzer was, Paterson is said to be a great guy with many friends on both sides of the aisle in Albany. Bloomberg may not deem a run against Paterson as appealing as one against the snarling sheriff of Wall Street.

Which brings me to the globalization element. Bloomberg is a businessman. As Mayor, he has long had an eye trained on the emerging challengers to New York as the world's undisputed financial capital. These include London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and even Chicago.

How David Paterson will approach the issue of New York's status as a leading financial center is unkown. But he has extremely close ties with organized labor through his father, Basil Paterson, a former New York Secretary of State who is now a lawyer for many of the state's most powerful unions. Will this impact Governor Paterson's policy tilt on the globalization issues that are of concern to New York's financial community? Maybe. Would a Governor Bloomberg be more likely to support New York's continued prominence as a world financial center? Probably.

But as we saw this week, anything can happen.

9 comments:

mike's spot said...

Maybe its just me- but I'm not the worlds largest bloomberg fan. I'm so sick and tired of NYC ruling the politics of an entire state. People can say whatever they want about NYC making all the money- Upstate NY sees none of it- and NYC continues to drain our tax revenue for their damn projects.

The fact that it was even proposed that albany should subsidize MTA tickets is ridiculous. Why in Gods name do I, a resident of the syracuse area, have to pay for someone to take 'public transit' that doesn't serve the whole damn public!

Bloomberg is a man with no conviction other than to make money. He's a showman, and not even a very good one at that. I dream of a day when Upstate NY gets sick of this crap and forms a separate state to get away from this crap.

Matthew Hennessey said...

You are of course entitled to your own opinion with regard to Bloomberg's convictions, but as another great New York politician, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said, you are not entitled to your own facts. This 2004 study by the Rochester-based Center for Government Research, found that New York City (and its suburbs) is a net contributor to the New York State budget. Translation: Downstate sends up more in taxes than it gets back in services.

I should note, this post was not meant as an endorsement of Bloomberg for governor. Merely, I sought to shed light on how any 2010 race might shake out and the possible implications for New York's status as a financial center.

Jalal Alamgir said...

Wouldn't Bloomberg be able to negotiate and navigate the NYC's competitive position under globalized finance much better as a mayor focused strategically on the city rather than a governor spread among the many issues of the whole state?

Jalal Alamgir
http://localandglobal.wordpress.com/

Matthew Hennessey said...

That's possible, Jalal. But City term limits disallow a third term as New York City Mayor for Bloomberg.

mike's spot said...

Matt -

thank you for the link- however that study is about pre 9/11 NYS. I feel it is a bit dated. I'd be interested in a more current study.

Also- How much of that 'upstate' money was still south of Monticello? sending money to Westchester and telling me your helping upstate is just not accurate. Those are still NYC residents- They commute, work, live , and play in NYC- there house is just 20 miles north.

Matthew Hennessey said...

Mike - Thanks for your comments and for returning to this blog.

I'm not sure if a post-9/11 study on this issue has been done. However, there are upwards of 8 million people in New York City - many of them outrageously wealthy. It is an international port, one of the world's financial hubs and an engine not just of the local or state economy, but the world economy. I find it very hard to fathom, therefore, your argument that upstate - a largely rural area - is a net contributor to the New York State budget. It simply doesn't work that way.

Yes, I know there are cities upstate. But the largest, Buffalo, comes in at a population of about 300,000 - hardly a significant tax base compared to New York City. Add in the long-term depressed nature of many upstate economies and your looking at a pretty fantastical claim when you allege paying more into the state budget than you receive back in services.

Remember, too, that New York City collects its own income tax, offsetting the costs of many of the services it provides. As far as I know Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse (not to mention Albany)does the same.

mike's spot said...

Matt- again you have great points, though I think your overly optimistic-

NYC has an unbelievably wealthy segment of the population- Walk around in many neighborhoods a bit further uptown and you'll see that there is still a large segment of people who barely get by. There is also a significant part of the population that does not pay taxes- Not just Immigrants either-

http://www.democracynow.org/2005/7/22/the_great_american_jobs_scam_corporate

take a look there, NYC is notorious for creating corporate tax break structures that create paper tigers on the job market- and do no good for the NYC economy in my opinion.

If you ever get a chance, google 'dividing NYS' and look at how many people on both sides are pushing for the state to break apart.

the Political disconnect between the two areas is staggering, and is galvanized by Upstate's general dislike for its downstate oriented elected officials.

There is a strong perception of Upstate NY that we are ignored, and frankly, screwed by NYC.

a good study that was done to illustrate the differences between upstate and downstate can be found here: http://www.cornellsurveyresearch.com/sri/files/esp/Report2_Exec_Sum_One_2005.pdf

It points out how different the perceptions of life are for NYS residents depending on where they live. What frustrates many upstaters is that because NYC has more people, our calls go largely ignored.

its an interesting topic to be sure-

thanks for responding

mike

acarr08 said...

It will be interesting to see how Paterson deals with his new position as governor and how New York will react to him. In the future I hope that politicians will take into account that their lives are no longer private as soon as they take office and nothing will stay secret for long. As for Bloomberg, I am eagerly anticipating his run for office and I agree that he will do many great things for New York, which is such an important state because of it's link to finances as well as it's image. The image of New York sets the standard for the rest of the country to the people around the world and it is important that it remains strong.

acarr08 said...

It will be interesting to see how Paterson deals with his new position as governor and how New York will react to him. In the future I hope that politicians will take into account that their lives are no longer private as soon as they take office and nothing will stay secret for long. As for Bloomberg, I am eagerly anticipating his run for office and I agree that he will do many great things for New York, which is such an important state because of it's link to finances as well as it's image. The image of New York sets the standard for the rest of the country to the people around the world and it is important that it remains strong.