'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The District's Office of Tax and Revenue failed to collect $6.5 million over a five-year period because it did not charge penalty fees to businesses that owed money — a punitive system now under review because officials said it was too ambiguous to enforce.
The District's top budget minder says the city does not need to raise the "ballpark fee" it imposes on businesses to pay down the massive debt it took to build a home for the Washington Nationals, a long-term endeavor in the nation's capital as other sports-crazed cities grapple with the role of public funds in high-stakes stadium deals.
Troubles mounted on disparate fronts for D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi on Tuesday with fresh accusations of employee-driven fraud in his office's tax division and an "informal inquiry" from the Securities and Exchange Commission compounding the scrutiny the city's purse-minder has endured for weeks.
For months, the District's money-minders have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of playoff-driven revenue from the surging Washington Nationals.
Good defense and timely hitting have been a boon this year for the Washington Nationals, and officials who mind the city's balance sheet are hoping for a share of the good fortune.
A D.C. lawmaker in charge of local purse strings thinks an influential congressman's look at a tax on out-of-state residents who work in the District could be a "game changer" for the city's finances.
Americans spend $80 billion each year financing food stamps for the poor, but the country has no idea how the money is spent.
Perhaps sensing the window is closing for his reappointment amid widespread corruption, chaos and a leadership shuffle in the D.C. government, Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi reached out to business leaders this week in an apparent effort to lobby for his job.
A budget battle involving Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has raised serious questions about the efficacy of the city's chief financial officer and whether Mr. Gray is delivering on promises to improve the handling of the city's budget.
The District has followed through on plans to borrow $10 million from its contingency reserve fund to cover damage from last month's earthquake — a conservatively high estimate of what it will actually need — as it continues to assess the monetary fallout from the hurricane that passed the region days later.
For the second time this year, D.C. officials drew up memos, planned inter-agency briefings and put vacation plans on ice while power brokers on Capitol Hill worked through a stalemate with major implications for the District.
Three weeks ago, the District's chief financial officer issued a warning: Inserting items into the city budget based on hopes that revenue may exceed projections down the road is not sound fiscal policy.
Gray's Wal-Mart ultimatum, Uncollected tax dollars?, DOJ to ask lawmakers about redistricting, D.C. budget vote, More bed bugs at hospital
Of all the questions generated by the unprecedented path to the D.C. Council's approval of a $38 million lottery contract, the biggest remains unanswered: How did an unexamined local firm with questionable credentials end up with a majority equity share of the lottery after the contract had been awarded to an international gambling giant?
To reconcile the issue, the CFO's lawyer is reviewing the law, Mr. Umansky said.
"The regulation was written but it was never enforced because there was never a penalty that was written," CFO spokesman David Umansky said Monday.