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D.C. Council Restores Cuts, Nixes Income Tax Hike In Budget

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Homeless services advocates make one last ditch protest effort May 25 to get the D.C. Council to restore cuts to programs that help people that are homeless.
Patrick Madden
Homeless services advocates make one last ditch protest effort May 25 to get the D.C. Council to restore cuts to programs that help people that are homeless.

The budget passed by the council stands in stark contrast to the one proposed by Mayor Vincent Gray a few weeks back. Gone are the deep cuts to homeless services and other safety net programs. Also gone is a 6 percent ticket tax Gray wanted to put on theater ticket sales.

The proposed income tax increase is also out, replaced by the more politically palatable tax on out-of-state bonds.

To restore most of the cuts and take out some of the tax and fee increases, however, the council will rely on money that isn't available yet. The council is banking on a substantial increase in cash when the new quarterly revenue estimate arrives later this summer, a move the chief financial officer suggests isn't wise because of economic uncertainty.

The council also voted on how it will spend a projected uptick in revenue, with about half going to into the city's depleted rainy day fund and the rest earmarked for hiring new police officers, affordable housing, rolling back parking meter fees in the busiest areas, and other council priorities.

But all of those programs will depend on how much of a revenue projection increase the CFO brings to the council in September. Council members have estimated it could be anywhere from $20 million to $90 million in additional revenue. In this [table])http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/10602/budget-released-good-for-transportation-worse-for-others/), Greater Greater Washington outlines how much additional revenue is needed for each of the priorities.

According to GGW's estimates, the revenue projections would need to increase by $118 million before parking meter rates decrease.

The council will take its second and final vote on the budget on June 15th.

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