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The group, spearheaded by council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, asked to make the tax on out-of-state bonds permanent instead of “buying it back” if additional revenues come into the District’s coffers.

Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, noted the out-of-state bonds issue was pretty far down the list of priorities covered by additional revenues anyway and would likely stick around.

Other council members, including Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, voiced stern objections to their maneuver, calling it a carnival-like change of course after they realized an income tax was not possible.

“The same people, like 30 minutes ago, said how unfair it was for us to take this money in the first place, but now you want to take it permanently,” Mrs. Cheh said of the council members who opposed the bond tax because they favored the income tax. “It’s palatable to at least go back and say to folks we will make this prospective.”

Yet Vincent B. Orange, at-large Democrat, became the crucial vote in getting the amendment passed after supporters sided with his effort to secure $500,000 for the Lincoln Theater and $508,000 for the Emancipation Day parade, giving the amendment enough votes to clear the council by a 7-6 vote.

“They’re kind of in a bind, because they don’t want to raise taxes,” Mr. Orange said after the hearing, referring to those who opposed making the out-of-state bonds tax permanent.

Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, voted against Mr. Wells‘ amendment and expressed his wariness about the bonds tax, noting that many retirees depend on income from bonds.

“While eliminating the non-tax status is worth consideration, taxing retired seniors on fixed incomes who relied on the District is a big mistake,” Mr. Evans said after the debate.

Mr. Wells also introduced an amendment that would allocate one-third of additional revenues to the District’s fund balance, reducing the chairman’s pledge to put 50 percent in the fund.

Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, opposed the measure, saying it is “time to inject a little reality” into budget talks. The District is in an enviable position because it saved its money in prior years. Had it not, he said, “we would have had an apocalypse in this city in 2009 when our revenue plummeted.”

Mr. Wells‘ amendment failed on a 7-6 vote.

Mr. Wells and Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, did not vote for the income tax increase, but they did join a council bloc consisting of Mr. Graham, Mr. Mendelson, Michael A. Brown, at-large independent, and Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat, in voting to reduce the contribution to the fund balance and to make the bonds tax permanent.

Despite some last-minute deal-making, the chairman said he was confident about the council’s progress as it heads into final negotiations.

“We’ll continue to work on it,” he said in the halls of the John A. Wilson Building.