Donald Trump on What He'll Do if Millionaires' Tax Happens

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, if tax hikes are in, is Donald Trump out?

The real estate mogul fired up about the New York governor's proposed millionaire tax. It's a tax on top of a tax. He told the governor himself that, if the tax hike is passed, will he start packing?

Donald Trump joining me on the phone.

By the way, Donald has a new book out — it's rapidly climbing the charts — "Think Like a Champion."

And I guess champions avoid high-tax states, Donald, right?

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Well, I guess you have no choice. Otherwise, you're not going to be a champion for long.

The fact is that the state of New York did something very, very foolish, and they passed a tax, an income tax, and increased it very substantially from what it was.

And I believe that's going to be a total disaster for the state.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, this surtax that they are talking about on high-income folks such as yourself is going to roughly get close to 10 percent.

Now, they argue that it's going to be a three-year trial. And, after three years, it goes away. You're not so certain.

TRUMP: Well, it does not matter whether it goes away or not.

You're talking about millions and millions of dollars for some people that really have other options, Neil. They can move to other states. You take a state like Florida, run by a governor, Charlie Crist, who is a terrific governor, and who is very, very cherishing of his no income tax.

So, you know, I make a lot of money outside of New York State, as an example. And I'm saying to myself, wait a minute. For the privilege of living in New York, I am supposed to pay tens of millions of dollars in extra taxes? It doesn't make sense.

So, you have a lot of people like that, that make money, and not necessarily — it is one thing if it's Trump Tower, where I make money in New York. Then it's — I don't think it's a very good tax anyway. But when I make money outside of the city or outside of the state, and I am supposed to be paying extra taxes because I happened to have a bed in New York, it does not make sense at all.

So, people will be leaving New York. And those are the people that pay a lot of the tax burden of this state.

CAVUTO: Yes, that was the argument Rush Limbaugh made, as you know, that he has, I think, some Fifth Avenue penthouse, $10 million, and he's saying, look, if — I'm not in the city that often, but when the taxes are going up the way they are, I certainly don't want to encourage the city. And so he's out, too.

How many do what you do?


TRUMP: Rush is one example. And he's a great example.

But you have many, many people in the same situation. And they will just say, thank you very much. Let's sell our apartment and let's get the hell out.

CAVUTO: But they say that, but they don't. When the mayor, when Mayor Bloomberg hiked taxes, the argument was, you're going to chase people out of this city. And it never materialized.

Your business took off, if memory serves me right. And there are Trump Towers and buildings all over the Big Apple. And even in good and bad times, you have thrived in high and low tax times, particularly in high tax times. So, does it work?


TRUMP: I think that Mayor Bloomberg agrees with me, because from what I have heard, and from what I have read, Mayor Bloomberg is totally opposed to taxing — this extra tax that is put on people of means.

A huge percentage of the New York City taxes come from the people that will be fleeing New York. And you just can't do it. It is a horrible thing. I have spoken to literally 25 to 30 people that are now either leaving or going to consider leaving. It is a foolish and in fact very stupid thing they are doing.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, you're right. Mayor Bloomberg says there was a point at which you just say that is enough. And this surtax was that point.

What I am asking you, though, is, where this goes? Because I know you supported Barack Obama. You spoke highly of him when last we chatted. He is a guy who is going after hiking taxes on the rich, taking away some of their deductions.

Do you feel like you have got a big bull’s-eye on you?

TRUMP: Well, I think possibly so.

I think that there is a world out there that is a very big place. And the United States, in a certain way, becomes a state. You have a lot of multinational corporations that don't have to be in the United States. You have some major corporations that make more money outside of the United States than in the United States.

So, there will be a point where it's really a bigger version of what is happening in New York, where they will leave this country, literally, in order to save all of the money that they're going to have to be paying under the new tax plan that they will have to be paying. So, they will go out to another country where they don't have taxes to pay.

So, you can really look at that as a larger version of what we're talking about with respect to New York State.


What about Rudy Giuliani? I asked him when he was here, a big fan of yours and you, I know, of his. The talk is, he's going to run for governor. Should he?

TRUMP: Well, he is a very talented guy. He is a very smart person.

He is somebody that did an awfully good job as the mayor of New York. And I would imagine that he might be running. And I think he would probably do a great job, as he did when he was mayor.

CAVUTO: A lot of people, when they saw this, that you might want to leave the state, you're so ticked off that you might want to run.

TRUMP: A lot of people have asked me to run.

I'm loving what I am doing. We're doing great. This business is sort of very interesting for me, because we are buyers. I have never seen things like available now. i mean, things that you would not have thought possible to buy, I am buying for less money than I ever thought also possible.

So, I'm just having an awfully good time doing what I'm doing. This is a great time to — if you have cash, this is a great time to be a buyer.

But I am concerned about what they are doing to my great state, I mean, a state that I'm very proud of, New York.

CAVUTO: All right.

Donald Trump — the book, "Think Like a Champion" — hopefully, we will chat again.

Thank you very much.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Neil. Bye.

CAVUTO: Donald Trump.

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