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Business Property Tax Cut is $21 Million

So say D.C. Council members and Barbara Lang, head of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. The council will vote tomorrow on the fiscal 2009 budget and one of the most contentious issues has been how much tax relief to provide small businesses.

In January, the council approved a bill that would provide $96 million in relief, but that was before D.C. CFO Natwar Gandhi announced a major budget shortfall. When Fenty unveiled his budget proposal in March, he had whittled the business tax relief to $15 million.

But council members, led by Chairman Vincent C. Gray, were adamant to restore more of the tax cut, even in a tough budget year. Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) proposed taking about $6 million from the budget for public safety and transferring it to pay for the tax relief. So the final number is $21 million.

Mayoral aides, including Police Chief Cathy Lanier, have warned that Mendelson's move will make it impossible for the police force to grow to the 4,200 officers (up by about 400 from current staffing levels) that Fenty has said will be on the streets by year's end. But Mendelson is not fan of the administration and the council, which has won political points from the business community, appears in little mood to reconsider.

By David A Nakamura  |  May 12, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  City Finances , David Nakamura  
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