From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
Last week the DC Council passed Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2013 budget proposal with an unusual absence of tax increases. Final approval is scheduled for June 5.
The Council chose spending cuts rather than tax hikes to close its projected $172 million budget gap. Still, council members made sure to assemble a quarter-billion dollar “wish list” of additional spending should tax revenue exceed projections for the coming fiscal year.
As the Washington Blade’s Mark Lee points out, in true DC tradition, it did not occur to councilmembers to plan to reduce business or personal income taxes in the District, where they are the second and fourth highest in the country, respectively.
Of note, the DC budget partially implements Mayor Gray’s now-famous proposal for a one-hour extension of alcohol service period at city restaurants, bars and hotels, as a way of generating tax revenue and balancing the District budget.
Although the Mayor’s original proposal failed to pass the Council, Chairman Brown’s compromise was approved — providing for later service hours on the night before all federal and DC holidays, Friday through Sunday preceding Memorial Day and Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve and July 4 when they fall on a Monday.
Amidst their relatively rare instance of tax moderation, DC officials relished the comparison between itself and neighboring Maryland, which this week approved a series of tax hikes. “Thank God Maryland keeps raising their taxes, one of these days they’re going to catch up to us,” Brown quipped.