The Big Apple has been pushed into second place behind Beijing as the world’s billionaire capital, and that’s before an extra New York state tax hike pushes even more of the mega-rich to board their private jets and fly out for good.
The Chinese capital of over 21 million has exactly one more billionaire than NYC with its total population of over eight million. A hundred billionaires to 99, according to Forbes’ recently released list.
The number of billionaires worldwide increased 32% to 2,755, or 660 more than a year ago, as many cashed in on a surging stock market.
Beijing saw an uptick of 33 billionaires during the worldwide pandemic, while NYC’s tally increased by only seven says Forbes.
But rather than Beijing growing more billionaires, many say it is New York’s soaring taxes and dwindling quality of life that are fuelling the flight of its richest.
“I personally know countless millionaires and billionaires who have left,” said Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, who is considering moving and relocating his 200 employees from Manhattan to Miami.
Manhattan supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, worth US$3.3 billion, agreed: “New York is being destroyed. I was in Palm Beach, Florida, last weekend, and I met more millionaires and billionaires who have moved there recently than you have hair on your head. The key is they stay in Florida enough days each year to avoid New York taxes.”
He warned, “New York will continue to go downhill, and our billionaires and wealthiest will just get up and leave unless the city improves.”
While he continues to contemplate a run for governor, he told The New York Post he’s also considering moving his official residence out of state to reduce his tax bill.
“Billionaires can buy a new corporate jet and live in Florida, and easily fly back and forth between New York City and Miami with the money they save by moving to lower-taxed states like Florida,” he explained.
While Beijing just edged NYC billionaires in total numbers, its mega-rich fall far behind in net worth: Big Apple moguls are worth US$550 billion combined compared to Beijing’s $490 billion.
Former Mayor Bloomberg was once again NYC’s wealthiest person, and the world’s 20th richest, with US$59 billion. TikTok tycoon Zhang Yiming, with a US$35.6 billion fortune, was Beijing’s top billionaire, and 39th in global rankings.
The City That Never Sleeps will probably keep hemorrhaging its rich as safety becomes a growing concern says the Post.
“Wealthy people are now afraid to walk the streets in New York,” said Torossian. “A few of my hedge fund friends moved quietly to Palm Beach and won’t return.”
Michael Heller, founder and CEO of Talent Resources, a fast-growing digital “influencer” marketing agency which works with celebrities and brands like Dunkin’ Donuts, ditched his home in lower Manhattan six months ago and moved with his wife and five-year-old son to London’s Notting Hill.
He calculates the move, even though London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, will save him millions, and it’s a lot safer than Manhattan.
“I am not a billionaire today, but I could be someday,” said the former New Yorker.