[EDITOR’S NOTE: Content regarding mayoral salary rankings and charitable giving was added after publication]
In early-February 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that would provide a pay raise to himself, city council members, district attorneys, and borough presidents, among others. The mayor said he wouldn’t take the pay raise until the beginning of his second term, which officially began on January 1, 2018.
De Blasio’s new $258,750 salary represents an increase of 15% over his previous salary of $225,000. A New Yorker earning a $13 minimum wage, working eight hours a day, seven days a week (with no time off) would make $34,944 before taxes — which is roughly equivalent to de Blasio’s $33,750 pay increase.
The New York Post quotes E.J. McMahon, research director at the Empire Center for Public Policy as well as an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who states that de Blasio’s salary increase isn’t "out of line" when adjusted for inflation. He compared it to the salary of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1978 - 1989), who earned $130,000 during his final year in office; $130,000 in 1989 is equivalent to $258,600 in 2017, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator.
Bill de Blasio may not be as wealthy as his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, but he’s far from poor. According to a report from American City Business Journals released in early 2017, de Blasio was the fourth highest-paid mayor in the United States. With his 2018 pay increase, he’s likely to jump a rung or two on that ladder.
Additionally, de Blasio’s charitable giving is meager. His 2016 tax return reveals that he only gave $2,088 to charity on an adjusted gross income of $220,651. That’s approximately 0.95 percent.
The New York Times reports:
The mayor’s donations are on the low end for someone with his income...for those making more than $100,000, the average is a little over $4,000 and the median is about $1,500, said Patrick M. Rooney, a professor of economics and philanthropic studies at Indiana University.
Wealth is not a bad thing, nor is a wage increase, but for a man who regularly rails against income inequality, and gives little to charity, it seems a bit odd that de Blasio doesn’t appear to have a problem with giving himself a substantial raise on top of an already substantial salary.