- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 21, 2010

The numbers don’t lie.

Neither Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s revisions nor the fiscal 2010 or 2011 budgets passed under the stewardship of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray kept the city in the black.

The city is facing a $175 million gap this fiscal year and a potential deficit as high as $400 million in the coming months, and those numbers have left officials saying they are going to run the table with tax increases and spending cuts.

Stakeholders will learn some details Monday, when Mr. Gray, who now is the mayor-elect, delivers what’s being billed as his “State of the District’s Budget and Finances Message.” The political implications of that message are stark.

Mr. Fenty, who leaves office Jan. 2, pledged his administration would not raise taxes. Mr. Gray said agency budgets already have been cut to the “bone marrow.”

Lawmakers and Gray advisers already have revealed their hands.

Council member Jack Evans, the only lawmaker to cast a “no” vote on the 2011 budget, wants cuts to social service, public safety and school spending.

Council members Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander want to wean residents off welfare dependence.

Council member Tommy Wells vows no cuts to the social services cluster without tax increases.

Council members Jim Graham and Michael A. Brown are considering raising income taxes.

Council members Muriel Bowser, David A. Catania, Mary M. Cheh, Phil Mendelson and Harry Thomas Jr. all support unspecified increases in taxes and fees.

All 13 lawmakers agree the city’s onerous 9.5 percent unemployment rate pushes down revenue and hurts families. In fact, declining income and sales taxes led to a drop in $100 million in revenue, and voters said putting residents to work is the No. 1 issue for the incoming Gray administration.

Organized labor and advocates for the poor are also on record. They are pushing tax increases, as is renowned economist Alice M. Rivlin, who happens to be a member of both the Gray transition team and President’s Obama’s deficit-reduction commission.

Like D.C. lawmakers Mr. Brown and Mr. Wells, proponents of a so-called millionaire’s tax, Ms. Rivlin supports new and revised plans.

Currently, D.C. residents who file individual taxes pay a tax rate of 4 percent on the first $10,000 earned and 6 percent if they earn between $10,001 and $40,000. Residents earning more than $40,000 pay 8.5 percent plus $2,200.

Mrs. Rivlin is expected to attend Mr. Gray’s news conference Monday.

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