- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 16, 2002

The Federal City Council (FCC), a group of well-connected political and business leaders, released a study Thursday that essentially says the sky is falling. Not to worry, though, because it isn't. While concerns about the District's overspending in education, Medicaid and other areas are hardly hyperbole, the looming $500-million deficit predicted for fiscal 2005 suggests there is a serious problem on the spending side of the ledger.

That was the precise warning from FCC Vice President Robert G. Libertatore, who said D.C. officials need to "act now and not wait until the problems get worse." Unfortunately, the FCC also proposed that D.C. officials raise taxes by deferring the 1999 Tax Parity Act. Of course, that is moving in the wrong direction, and so is the incessant talk about a straightforward commuter tax and a reciprocal tax which would force commuters to pay income taxes to the District in exchange for a reimbursement from the federal government. Both taxes are bad ideas.

As Reps. Tom Davis of Fairfax County and Connie Morella, both friends of the District, have said, the D.C. government could stand more belt-tightening, more efficiency and a smaller bureaucracy. As for deferring the tax cuts, D.C. Council member Jack Evans hit the nail on the head when he told Guy Taylor of this newspaper that the District's "… idea of eliminating or postponing the tax parity act is a political agenda of the mayor that worked its way into the report. I am not going to support the indefinite postponement of tax parity." Mr. Evans has lots of support on that one.


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