Spending increase proposed for office with ties to Gray

Staffer is friend’s daughter

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Mr. Catania pointed out that the increase to the motion picture office budget came even as some programs were cut from the Health Department, an agency he oversees as chairman of the council’s Committee on Health.

Mr. Gray’s proposal calls for $187 million in spending cuts, much of it in human services, and $127.2 million in tax and fee increases and $7.9 in additional revenue to close a $322 million budget gap.

“Our financial situation called for a reality check,” Mr. Gray said in defending his spending plan. “This budget squarely meets and addresses the reality we face.”

Council member Jack Evans was put off by the proposed tax increases.

Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, said small businesses account for more than 4,000 of the 15,000 filers facing an increased income tax on those earning more than $200,000 in the District. He said the tax, no matter how rich the payer, is no drop in the bucket.

For some, “You’re asking them to pay an additional $18,000 taxes per year,” he told the mayor. “I want to dispel this notion it’s a cup of coffee.”

Mr. Gray said he would work with Mr. Evans on avoiding unanticipated impacts of the tax proposal.

Council member Marion Barry said budget cuts are not spread evenly among education, public safety and human services. Education funding was increased in the mayor’s budget, while the police and fire departments were funded at fiscal 2011 levels and asked to absorb inflation costs.

Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, said he would like to see innovative ways to save money in the police budget, rather than seeing human services “take a plunge.”

Council member Phil Mendelson said the budget strikes the right balance between spending cuts and increasing revenue.

“There has to be the mix,” Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat, told the mayor. “You recognize that, and I appreciate that.”

Council member Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, said prior budgets dipped into savings, used gimmicks and amounted to “time bombs to plague us into the future.”

“We wanted a mayor who would do things differently,” Ms. Cheh said. “We might not agree with all the pieces of it, but this is a straightforward, honest budget.”

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks