- The Washington Times - Friday, May 7, 2010

What do you get when you mix a read-my-lips, no-tax-increase pledge with election-year politics? Tax proposals, of course.

Mayor Adrian Fenty and the D.C. Council are struggling to close a $550 million budget gap.

Everything, including a new soda pop tax and a 10-cent increase on gasoline, is on the table as lawmakers try to balance the city’s shrinking revenue supply with increased demands for housing, health care, free education and social services.

The liberal think tank D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), Fair Budget Coalition and other organizations are urging City Hall to raise taxes and increase spending.

Their chief argument is that the city has long taxed goods and now it’s time to tax services, too.

Since the mayor took office in January 2007, he and the council have raised several taxes, including parking, sales and tobacco tax increases. The city also began levying a 5-cent bag tax in January.

As budget hearings wind down, the push is on to consider a lengthy list of new taxes.

Consider the possible consequences.

• Diaper services: Moms who prefer to go green and use cloth diapers and patients troubled by incontinence could fall victim to a new tax.

• Taxidermy: The National Taxidermy Association doesnt even list any D.C.-based taxidermists.

• Dance, golf and tennis instructors: Were it not for the generosity of these people, who sometimes use sliding-scale fees, low-income children may never have the opportunity to experience dance and sports programs.

• Yoga and health clubs: Whos next? Tai chi and karate instructors at the local Y?

Why not, says DCFPI.

“You pay tax on your yoga mat, your leggings, your water bottle — even a yoga DVD. Why do you not pay a tax on a yoga class?” DCPFI blogger Katie Kerstetter said in her Thursday post.

Lawmakers are set to hear from a round of like-minded advocates on Friday.



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