- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mayor Tony Williams’ State of the District address Monday night was long on the kind of rhetorical commentary that his political nemeses had better digest as quickly as possible. The incumbent is the best noncandidate in the probable Democratic field.

After giving obligatory nods to D.C. dignitaries, talking about how great the nation’s capital now is and how flush city coffers are now, the mayor punctuated his optimism with this comment: “I am not done.” The statement was at once risky and proper, since he has nearly two years left in this, his second term, and has not yet officially announced his intentions for a third.

The Washington Post Editorial Page rightly characterized the mayor’s speech as leaving “virtually no resident ” or voter ” behind,” but was wrong to simply take a wait-see attitude regarding the liberal spending policies that the mayor outlined.

We applaud the mayor on his speech ” one of his best ever. After a decade in City Hall, Tony Williams has finally crystallized Washington in his mind’s eye. Indeed, with the six words “reducing taxes for all D.C. residents” and these three words, “Omnibus Crime Bill,” Mr. Williams, the city’s former chief financial officer, has come full circle from opposing across-the-board tax cuts in his first year as mayor.

Still, while we hail the mayor’s tax-cut package, we question his proposal to throw tens of millions of dollars at an incompetent school system and urge him against forcing businesses to put their earnings into a “job opportunity bank.” We also challenge the mayor on his plan that would significantly increase spending on social services ” $9 million in child-care subsidies. We challenge the mayor not because working parents don’t deserve subsidies, but because he and the D.C. dignitaries know that some child-care programs are wasting public dollars. As we pointed out on Monday, audits in recent years have consistently reported problems of waste and abuse with subsidized child-care programs. (There is hope if the D.C. Council queries the Executive Branch and the service providers.)

It’s good to see Mr. Williams reaching out with tax cuts. Now he has to deliver and that won’t be easy ” since there are dignitaries in City Hall who want the mayor’s view of Washington.

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