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Analysis: D.C. Lawmakers Debate Future Of City's Surplus

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D.C. lawmakers wrangle over what to do with a budget surplus and Virginia's general assembly considers the governor's proposal to do away with the state gas tax. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about the details.

On D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wanting to hold on to the city's $417 million surplus for reserve savings: "Gray hasn't gotten a lot of attention about this, but he's pursued a very cautious policy on the budget. He's sticking to that now. He's putting in reserves... this healthy budget surplus of $417 million from the last fiscal year. They got this surplus because the District's finances are doing quite well right now. That's partly because the city is attracting young people with relatively good salaries. They're moving to the District and paying taxes. Gray's proposal is making social services advocates unhappy. They're saying why put this market in the reserves and make the bond markets happy, when people can't afford rents and mothers are struggling to support their families. Mayor Marion Barry says he's going to push the council to increase the social services spending. But it's not clear he's going to have the votes."

On whether Virginia's transportation package is a done deal: "No, it does not [mean it's a done deal]. It's misleading that those committees passed the bill, because the real battle is going to be on the floor of the two chambers, and especially in the Senate. Right now, there is not enough support in the Senate, even from some Republicans, to pass McDonnell's proposal, which would abolish gasoline tax, but raise sales taxes and fees in order to raise money on transportation."

Listen to the full analysis here.

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