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D.C. Council Votes Against Income Tax Hike

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Advocates silently protest as the D.C. Council votes to reject the income tax proposal Wednesday.
Patrick Madden
Advocates silently protest as the D.C. Council votes to reject the income tax proposal Wednesday.

The tax proposal failed in an 8-5 vote. Key votes against the measure were Council members Tommy Wells and Marion Barry, who both supported the plan in the past.

In a last-minute effort to persuade council members to vote for the hike, dozens of organizers with the advocacy group Save our Safety Net flooded the halls of the Wilson Building Tuesday. A recent poll by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute shows the majority of residents would support a tax increase to preserve public services.

The vote means the alternative revenue-generator, a tax on out-of-state bonds, will go forward. However, several council members noted that when the city tried to do this in the past, support on the council evaporated once pensioners and others affected by the tax spoke out against it.

The council's $10 billion spending plan, which requires a second and final vote later in June, also restores most of the deep cuts to safety net services that were originally proposed in Gray's budget.

The council, against the suggestion of the city's chief financial officer, is also already laying out how it will spend a projected increase in revenue that's due to arrive later this summer. These expected funds will be used to restore social services and hire more police officers, among other things.

Gray, despite losing on the income tax increase, says he will sign off on this budget.

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