New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided the best way to plug a $15 billion budget gap is to tax his city’s financially pressed residents by proposing a $900 million sales tax increase.

The city already has one of the nation’s highest sales taxes at 8.375 percent and under the Bloomberg proposal that would rise to 8.75 percent rivaling the highest taxes in California.

On top of the sales tax increase the mayor would also eliminate the $400 property tax rebate and renew his quest to get the state to impose a nickel a bag charge for plastic bags used at stores.

Last month Bloomberg raised property taxes to generate an extra $600 million and the elimination of the rebate will save an additional $250 million increasing the financial burden on New Yorkers.

The city’s Independent Budget Office estimated that the sales tax increase would cost an individual making $35,000 a year an extra $55 rising to $140 for someone earning $125,000.

These estimates will only hold up though if consumers don’t rein in their spending even more in the next year as the economy continues to contract so they are likely to miss the target amount.  Plus add in the increased property taxes and lower sales tax rates in New Jersey and the increase may actually turn into a net decrease for the city.

New York is like most cities that expanded their budget at a healthy clip when the economy was good, but now that times are tough they would rather burden the taxpayer rather than make the proper decision to cut the size of government to match the revenue that they are generating.

The economy will not recover as fast as elected officials hope if they keep turning to the tax man to solve the problem.  All that will do is choke off any recovery and prolong the misery.