This week the DC Council once again asserted its desire to grow beyond the ability of its taxpayers to finance it. The Council passed a $5.6 billion 2008 budget
, which is 9% higher than the 2007 budget. As a point of reference, the consumer price index increased 2.6% in the 12 month period ended April, 2007.
Even worse, the budget nixed Council hero Jack Evans' proposal to cap property tax increases at 5% per year. Evans' proposal was ambushed by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute
, which sought to kill the cap by cravenly making it a racial issue, claiming that most of the cap's benefits would flow to predominantly white Wards 2 and 3. Any property tax deduction or cap would benefit most those whose properties have the highest assessments, but every tax payer would benefit proportionally. The DCFPI also left out of their press attack that diverse Ward 4 would be a big beneficiary, something that Evans deftly pointed out today on the Kojo Nnamdi show
The Washington Post
is the house organ for the DCFPI. It had only one article on Evans' proposal and and a Schwartz proposal to reduce DC estate taxes. That article quoted generously from the lobby group before even explaining the details of either proposal to its readers. The article
is so one-sided that it is worth reading the first three paragraphs:
The D.C. Council is considering substantial breaks on inheritance and real estate taxes, and the plans could cost the city almost $100 million in revenue over the next four years, officials said yesterday.
Some council members said the proposed cuts are a way to encourage homeowners to stay in the District. But a report scheduled for release today by a think tank concludes that the legislation would most benefit the city's wealthiest residents and do little for people who don't own their homes.
"This is a city that is divided by income already," said Ed Lazere, who wrote the report. Lazere is executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which analyzes District tax and budget issues.
The Wa Post
also wrote an editorial
titled "Giveaway" that attacked the tax reductions and, of course, cited the conclusions of the DCFPI. How reducing the rate of tax increases from three times the inflation rate to about 1.5 times is a "giveaway," I have no idea. If the DCFPI really want DC to be affordable to seniors and low-income residents then they should endorse lower property taxes and enable those constituents to be able to keep their homes.
Labels: DC, Leonardo, Taxes