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Scaramucci announces 2021 SALT conference will be held in NYC

Anthony Scaramucci, SkyBridge Capital Founder, joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers and Julia La Roche to announce the return of the SALT conference.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, we've got a lot to chat about with our next guest, so I want to jump straight to it. We're joined now by Anthony Scaramucci, SkyBridge Capital founder and former White House communications director under President Trump. We also have Yahoo Finance's Julia La Roche joining us for this conversation.

JULIA LA ROCHE: Thanks so much, Kristin. And, Anthony, welcome-- always great to have you back. And I know you have some news to share that's going to be New York City-related and SALT Conference related. So what is it?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Well, first of all, thank you. We're bringing the SALT Conference back to New York. We did it 10 times in Las Vegas, a few times in Asia, once in Abu Dhabi, Julia. But the conference is going to be the second week in September at the VIP-- the new wing of the Jacob Javits Conference Center on the West side of Manhattan. And we're working closely with the city and the state on an economic revitalization plan, if you will, around that.

I'll just point out a year ago you and I were in my office about to celebrate the 15th anniversary of SkyBridge, so I'm hoping this interview breaks the spell, because I don't think I've left Long Island since that interview. This is the longest I've been on Long Island since elementary school. But I thought it was important to bring the conference back at a time where New York could use the boost. We did something very similar in Las Vegas after the global financial crisis. And I expect you to be there, Julia-- or at least I'm hoping you are-- invitation extended.

JULIA LA ROCHE: I would love to definitely come. And you were just mentioning, of course, Las Vegas-- for folks who don't know, in 2009, you launched the SALT Conference, and it really did bring a boost to the economy-- to The Strip in Las Vegas. And I want to talk about New York, because you're mentioning you've been on Long Island for a long time now, but you have an office in New York.

Folks might not know this, but you also have a hospitality presence in New York. You also know so many folks in the hedge fund space, Anthony, and we keep hearing these headlines-- New York City's dead, it's never coming back, all these folks are leaving. What is your outlook for New York?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Well, I would say the outlook, being very objective, is uncertain. You know, I'm a New Yorker. I intend on staying in New York. And I have no problem paying New York taxes. But I think that most people in my industry view taxes as a price for services, and the services are terrible. You know, I don't want to be overly critical of people in government. Having spent a limited time in government, I know how hard these jobs are.

But just take a look at what the city looked like in terms of its economic vital signs and the dashboard of the city in 2013. I would say this current administration has failed the city, and a result of which, people are leaving. Moreover, if you keep increasing taxes, and then you have the additional burden of the SALT-- the state and local tax-- income deduction going away above $10,000, you've made it almost impossible for a lot of people to think it makes good business sense to be in New York.

Now, I'm a New Yorker. I love the city of New York. I love where I live, and I intend to be here. And I intend to be here to help try to solve some of these problems. But it's not-- somebody has to be very clear-eyed about this. If you're walking through Penn Station and you're stepping over human defecation and homeless people on your way to work, you may be thinking that places like Florida with no state income tax is a better strategy for you and your business.

So it's really a burden on the city's government to make sure and improve the quality of life of the city. I would say that's also for the state government as well, as the state super tied into the city. And I'm very sad about it. I think it's tragic. We had the city really humming at the end of Mayor Bloomberg's term.

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, Anthony, I'm also from Long Island-- grew up not too far from where you grew up in Long Island. And bringing back the SALT Conference reminds me just a little bit about some of the decisions that we've seen made just yesterday in Texas and in Mississippi-- you know, as we hear the governors there say, listen, our businesses and our economy is struggling. We need to start reopening, and we need to allow some of these businesses to start back.

But I'm curious to know about the safety element about this conference-- this in-person conference, especially as we have public health officials saying, yes, while the economy is important and we do need to allow businesses to continue, we can't ignore some of these public health risks. Because the longer this pandemic goes on, the longer the squeeze on the economy.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Listen, we're in complete agreement on that. And so I'll just point out to everybody-- I closed SkyBridge's offices the first week in March. Some of my friends were like, what are you doing? You're being an alarmist. And so I'll be the first person to tell you that I'm more worried about health and safety than anything else.

We were one of the first financial services companies to close our office. If we don't feel that we can host an event like the SALT Conference at the Javits Center, we'll postpone and/or cancel it. We'll be very flexible about it. Having said that, the Biden administration is suggesting that by the end of May, every adult that wants a vaccination will receive one. And of course, we'll have ample testing upon entry to the SALT Conference-- temperature testing, PCR testing, and people, of course, that are vaccinated I think should feel safe being in a venue like that.

But we will observe all of the state, city, and federal protocols to make sure people feel safe. As it relates to Texas and other states, I'm not an epidemiologist, but I'm smart enough to yield to the experts. And it just does seem a little bit premature. I recognize-- Julia was mentioning I own a restaurant in the city-- it has been closed for a year. We have suffered losses as a result of that closing. And some jobs have been lost.

Having said that, I don't want people to be unsafe. And so I just worry that these things have become political statements, and we've politicized this thing, we've made a scientific decision based on left and right standing as opposed to what is right or wrong for the public. So I don't like the decision, frankly, but I'm not an epidemiologist. But I would yield to epidemiologists, and I think you'll find that they don't like those decisions either.

They seem reckless, and they seem cavalier. But they also seem politicized. Like, hey, it's us against them, and it's the mask-wearers versus the non-mask-wearers. So I have elderly parents, and I would prefer them not to get COVID-19. We can get the virus under control and could have had it under control last year had we had a unified approach to this thing and had much stronger leadership around the science.

JULIA LA ROCHE: Well, Anthony, speaking of politics, I do want to kind of-- because you're talking about the kind of lack of leadership in New York City, specifically. I'm wondering what you're thinking of in terms of the mayoral election, also thinking about the state politics. And would you yourself ever consider running for some sort of office, whether on a state or local level?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Well, you know, I'm sitting here at home, Julia-- you don't want me castrated, so my wife would probably kill me if I did that. As I said to you one time jokingly, I'm running for re-election in my marriage. You know, I had a very rough time in the world of politics. They drag your family through the mud.

Obviously, I shared my opinions about Donald Trump. Those came with death threats-- death threats to my family members. So even with all that, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. But I'm a Republican. This seems like a one-party state. Let me rephrase that-- I used to be a Republican. I'm not sure if I'm a Republican anymore given the way the Republicans are acting.

But I'm a center-right business pragmatist, and I'm socially agnostic as a person. I'm not sure my political views fit anywhere. So if they did, would I consider something? Sure. I'm open-minded. I'd have to get Deirdre over the fence doing something. But I think it's unlikely given what goes on-- I mean, you're not bringing up Andrew Cuomo, but I'm going to bring him up.

He's a friend of mine. He's in turmoil now. I guess you're not allowed to say positive things about him because he's in turmoil and, you know, you get canceled if you say something positive about him. But I'm going to say something positive about him-- he's held the line on taxes, and he's a business-minded guy. And he's being undermined by people on the radical left side of his party.

And I'm not saying what he did was right or wrong-- let's let the investigation find its way to the truth. And clearly, if he did something wrong, then there are consequences. But at the end of the day, if we're just going to have progressive people that do not care about business, or threaten business people, or feel that business people are not trustworthy, you're going to lose the mantle and standing of this city. And this is something that the city's had for 150-plus years.

It is the capital of so many different things. I think it's just unfortunate that we have these strategies in place. If you look at places like San Francisco or New York, progressive, left-leaning strategies with no focus on common sense business ideas or any way to motivate and support business are a disaster. You have a Democratic leader in Miami-- I'm going to be interviewing him on "SALT Talks" later this week-- Mayor Suarez. He's about helping business. This city is not about helping business, and it's sad to watch.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, I thought that Mayor Suarez was actually a Republican, but--

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Is he?

KRISTIN MYERS: Anthony, do not go anywhere.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: OK, I stand corrected. I thought he was Democrat. I thought he was a Democrat, because I'm watching all the social issues. I thought he was a Democrat. You know better than me, see that?

JULIA LA ROCHE: I don't think they really-- it's not really a party office.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: What's that?

KRISTIN MYERS: Well, he is-- I do know he's a-- yeah, he's a registered Republican. But we're going to continue this conversation.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: I didn't mean to give fake news.

KRISTIN MYERS: We have so much more to get into.