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Mr. Gray used a pocket veto — declining to sign the measure and letting it expire in August — to make the bonds tax effective this year and to restore the $13.4 million back into the fund balance.

David A. Catania, at-large independent, said the city’s budget has been growing, rendering false the idea that the District was in the type of financial crisis that states across the nation are experiencing and was in need of higher taxes to build revenue in lieu of spending cuts.

“What is remarkable about this is the utter abdication of leadership by our mayor,” Mr. Catania said, noting the administration used the pocket veto instead of finding $13 million in the budget to cover the bonds tax.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Catania supported a last-minute proposal by council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, that would have restored the council’s earlier decision to delay the bonds tax by one year.

The maneuver, which the council rejected in a 7-6 vote, could have forced the council to gather enough votes to override a second veto by Mr. Gray.

Mrs. Cheh, who serves as Mr. Brown’s chairman pro tempore, or second in command, cast the final and decisive vote in defeating Mr. Evans’ proposal. She said her decision should not be read as an indication of how loyal she is to the chairman.

“I’m not anybody’s right hand,” she said. “We’re not partners in government, we’re not like twins, I’m not a butler, or maid or hand-holder. When it comes down to voting on something, I’m going to vote how I think I should vote.”

Mrs. Cheh had been particularly troubled by any retroactive bonds tax and — even before Mr. Gray’s veto had toyed with a “Plan B” that included an income tax on a higher level of earners than the $200,000-plus segment proposed by the mayor.

“I was boxed into a corner because of the way things unfolded,” she said.