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Mayor Vince Gray Proposes Tax Hikes In Budget

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D.C. Mayor Vince Gray ordered a spending freeze that will cut down on agencies spending on new items like uniforms, office supplies and other extraneous purchases.
Patrick Madden
D.C. Mayor Vince Gray ordered a spending freeze that will cut down on agencies spending on new items like uniforms, office supplies and other extraneous purchases.

Gray unveiled his budget Friday, calling for households earning $200,000 or more to be taxed at 8.9 percent, a half-a-percentage point increase.

The proposed hike on the city's wealthiest residents, as well as the 6 percent parking garage tax increase, is opposed by Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans, who chairs the Finance Committee and represents parts of downtown D.C. and some of the more affluent neighborhoods.

"I will not support this budget. I think it's irresponsible and its one of the worst I've seen in my time here," Evans says.

All told, the budget contains nearly $130 million in tax hikes and fee increases. It cuts government spending, particularly in Health and Human Services, by nearly $190 million.

"You can see the impact on Health and Human Services in here, add another $100-plus million to that -- those cuts -- and it would've been absolutely devastating," Gray says.

The budget is now in the hands of the Council. It will have 56 days to tweak and finalize the spending plan.

The showdown will be over the income tax hike. Chairman Kwame Brown has said in the past he would not support such an increase.

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