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Furloughs, Not Tax Hikes, Passed At Spirited Budget Hearing

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The D.C. Council took a major step in closing the city's ballooning budget deficit. The council passed a revised spending plan that includes furloughs, deep cuts to social services, but no income tax increase.

Almost at soon as Council Chairman Vincent Gray slammed his gavel down, protesters rose up from their chairs.

One by one, they disrupted the hearing and demanded the city protect safety net services by raising the income tax.

In the end, their vocal calls were not heeded. The council rejected a pair of proposed income tax increases.

Instead, the budget plan contains four furlough days for city employees and major cuts in spending.

Gray says the deep cuts were painful but necessary.

"The Grim Reaper is at the door, and I will not sit here and be part of any exercise that results in a control board coming back to the District of Columbia," says Gray.

Gray and several other council members signaled they would be more open to an income tax increase in the spring, when Gray is mayor.

NBC4 video on the council hearing:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

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