Business Tax Cut Still Alive
The big question around the Wilson Building these days: Can the District government absorb an 11th-hour, $35 million revenue shortfall and still give small businesses a property tax cut?
The answer, after six hours of private D.C. Council discussions yesterday, appears to be a resounding "yes." Council sources said the members appear determined to provide up to $30 million in relief for the small businesses, which is twice what Mayor Adrian Fenty had in his initial budget request.
Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, were the architects of the original plan to give property tax breaks to small businesses. In January, the council approved the rate cut, which would provide $96 million in relief. But Fenty paired that amount down to $15 million to help close a revenue gap announced by Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi in February.
Gray has been looking for ways to keep more of the tax cut in the budget. According to a council source, members agreed yesterday to trim spending in the agencies they oversee to make up the latest budget deficit and still provide the tax relief. Details remain unclear.
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