- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pay attention fiscal conservatives and members of the tea party: A new poll lends heft to the script written by tax-and-spenders, including D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Speak now or forever hold your opposition.

“D.C. voters strongly prefer maintaining public services over holding down taxes as a budget priority today,” according to a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates. “Large majorities find cuts to police and public safety, education and specific social services to be unacceptable.”

Granted, the telephone poll reflects the views of only 504 likely D.C. voters, but its findings provide a solid foundation for the left to raise taxes so more money can be spent on public services — i.e. welfare, subsidized housing and public schools.

Oh, sure, respondents balked at cutting public safety, with 70 percent saying such a move would be “unacceptable.” But even that’s a blessing in disguise since the mayor’s 2012 budget proposal gives short shrift to the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Gray plan would cut police staffing from 3,870 to about 3,700 officers — a problem Congress must correct.

The police department’s key issues are recruitment and attrition, which began during the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, and police Chief Cathy L. Lanier needs new recruits in the pipeline ASAP.

But there’s another problem.

While poll respondents support tax increases, they oppose utilizing economic development to bring in new revenue.

The anti-Wal-Mart and smart-growth activists don’t mind supporting bike lanes, dog parks and specialty shops, which poor folks don’t or can’t afford to patronize, but all the while liberals also want to pay for abortions, enable drug addicts with needle exchanges and legalize marijuana.

Go figure.

The new poll, conducted April 20 to 22 on behalf of the spread-the-wealth D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, also said this, according to a summary it released Sunday:

“A large majority of D.C. voters support the proposal to create an 8.9 percent income tax bracket for individuals above $200,000 — 85 percent for, to 14 percent against. Seventy percent support a proposed increase in the parking garage tax, with 25 percent against. Voters also expressed support for an effort to tax multistate corporations, 87 percent to 8 percent. Support for tax increases, particularly the income tax increase, is strong across the city and even among those who would have to pay the income tax. Among voters with incomes of more than $100,000, 90 percent say that they find the tax increase on individuals earning more than $200,000 to be acceptable.”

The liberals surely are salivating for the new revenue those higher taxes will dump into city coffers since there are no fiscal conservatives on the D.C. Council.

Indeed, the closest thing the District of Columbia has to budget hawks are Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat who is chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, and another Democrat, Vincent B. Orange, who won the April 26 special election for an open at-large seat.

The ambitious Mr. Orange, who wants to be mayor, said he is committed to increasing revenue by growing tourism and “bringing economic development projects to fruition.”

With the tax-and-spend violinists in dress rehearsal, let’s hope Mr. Evans, whose term is up in 2012, and Mr. Orange can persuade their colleagues to rewrite the script.

*Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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