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SIMMONS: Cobbling and gobbling D.C. budget
Question of the Day
Mayor Vincent C. Gray will be in bunker mode Monday, scheduled for a late-afternoon closed-door session with his Cabinet as his 2013 spending plan, which nickels-and-dimes residents and visitors alike, is set for a vote on Tuesday.
His is not an austere plan. In fact, the mayor has already spent the money on his advertised proposals to suckle infants, children and fully grown women.
The city’s top lawmaker, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, hunkered down with his own counterparts last week, and most of them, like the mayor, are planning to spend public dollars on pacifiers by considering tax and fee increases, furlough give-backs for city workers and increased spending on entitlements.
What will Kwame do?
“I’m not going to put one tax increase in this budget,” the chairman told me, adding that his goals are to ensure the city continues to save money and puts a master list of fees online for all to see - a first for the city and a potential eye-opener.
“Last year, we were able to find savings and replenish millions in entitlements,” said Mr. Brown. “Now the question is, what to do with some of the money. We have to reallocate resources.”
Let’s hope lawmakers are polishing up on their math, because if we take the chairman at his word, his promise also means no increase in the booze tax, which is on the table courtesy of council member Jim Graham, who wants to increase the alcohol excise tax by 6 cents per drink.
“The District of Columbia is not Las Vegas,” Mr. Graham recently said, arguing that residents will take a good night’s sleep rather than transform the city into a party town.
That’s no surprise coming from Mr. Graham, who represents the city’s most ethnically diverse ward and who, perhaps as a traveler, could understand why towns and cities in other countries, say, Brazil, willingly roll out the welcome mat to party, party, party.
What should Kwame do?
Use visuals to sway the mayor, lawmakers and any other poverty pimp trying to redefine families.
Mr. Brown should get the council’s techies to display Time magazine’s cover photo of a 3-year-old standing on a chair to suckle the left breast of his mother, and which also shows mom looking as detached as a stereotypical baby daddy.
The picture, which truly is worthy of a thousand words, sums up what’s going awry in City Hall, where Democrats and independents - chiefly the mayor, Mr. Graham and council members Marion Barry, Michael A. Brown, David A. Catania and Tommy Wells - press for laws and policies that overcompensate in the name of the child and, by default, the mother and the father.
The chairman, through no fault of his own, is too young to have witnessed the women’s liberation movement and its immediate repercussions on real families as safety-net spending began spiraling upward.
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About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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