Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg unveiled proposals to increase affordable housing and address income inequality during a campaign stop in Stockton, where he accepted an endorsement from Mayor Michael Tubbs.
The former New York City mayor participated in a closed-door roundtable with community leaders in the morning and later held a press event at a local coffee shop. Bloomberg wants to increase federal spending for affordable housing programs and establish a $10 billion fund for cities that come up with solutions to restrictive zoning, which can limit housing construction.
He also wants to expand the earned income tax credit, which benefits low-to-middle income adults, and raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
Tubbs expressed support for Bloomberg’s policy platforms — and electability.
“We have to have a candidate with the record, with the resources and the relationships to not just make sure we beat Donald Trump, but make sure something like Donald Trump never happens again,” he said before a small crowd at Trail Coffee.
Tubbs will serve as a national co-chair for the campaign.
Bloomberg is skipping stops in Iowa and New Hampshire — the first states to weigh in on the presidential primary — and instead focusing on Super Tuesday states, like California.
Several voters and community leaders at the events in Stockton told CapRadio the state’s housing crisis is one of their top issues.
“We’re going to substantially increase the construction of affordable housing, both through tax credits and direct government spending,” Bloomberg said.
He wants to expand the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and increase spending on programs like the Public Housing Capital Fund, which allocates money to state and local public housing agencies. His plan also seeks to expand the earned income tax credit for single adults without children.
Bloomberg stopped short of embracing a federal universal basic income — a concept Tubbs has piloted in Stockton that gained him international attention.
Tubbs says Bloomberg is supportive of the concept, but wants to learn more about its potential impact. The Stockton mayor plans to provide the campaign with data from the city’s pilot program.
Bloomberg has pointed to his tenure as mayor of New York on the campaign trail, but that track record also comes with some controversy.
He reiterated an apology for the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City. The program granted police broad authority to search bystanders on the street and has been criticized for criminalizing minorities. Several years ago, a federal judge ruled the practice unconstitutional.
Tubbs says Bloomberg’s record on policing in was initially a concern, but says Bloomberg’s views on criminal justice have evolved.
California may prove to be an uphill battle for Bloomberg. A late entry into the race and lack of name recognition has him polling around 5% in California, according to a recent CNN poll.
But his candidacy appears to be raising curiosity among some Democratic voters. Before the event, Stockton resident Rob Waters expressed reservations about Bloomberg.
Afterward, he sounded more optimistic.
“What he said really spoke to me,” Waters said. “There’s no doubt in mind after hearing him today that he could be a good contender.”
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