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D.C. Budget: More Reader Thoughts

With the council passing its version of the budget on to the mayor (full changes listed in this pdf), it seems like a good time to check out how readers remade city taxes and spending in washingtonpost.com's D.C. budget game.

Below is a table that shows what percentage of readers supported what size of cuts in the budget, what the average reader's changes to city departments' budgets were, and what those changes translated into in terms of dollars.

% Change-15-50515Avg. % ChangeBaseline BudgetReader Avg. Budget
Income Taxes29.113.519.129.19.2-2.2014861453
Property Taxes39.75.716.331.96.4-3.6918541786
Sales & Excise Taxes34.04.312.136.213.5-1.49870857
Other27.03.56.434.828.41.7710211039
        5135
Government Operations7.831.956.72.80.7-2.5211721142
Economic Development25.528.430.510.65.0-3.97137132
Public Safety36.27.845.46.44.3-4.86990942
Public Education28.420.643.36.41.4-4.7515111439
Human Support Services22.030.538.36.42.8-4.0815631499
Public Works22.021.346.88.51.4-3.72449432
        5587
        -452

The average budget game user cut into tax revenues and expenditures at about equal levels. Unfortunately that created a deficit only about $139 million smaller than the one the city actually faces.

One area where readers appear willing to accept increases is in the "Other Revenue" category, a broad collection of all other city taxes and fees that would include things like the mayor's proposal of a streetlight surcharge in utility bills, or the council's idea to add cameras to street sweepers and issue tickets to cars that weren't kept out of their way.

To submit your budget ideas or discuss them with other readers, use the D.C. budget game. A selection of readers' proposals and comments follows.

You can click the links below and view the "revenues" and "expenditures" tabs to see exactly what each reader did.

Amwilli's Budget

The best budget on here. Increase or same level funding for education and social services, tax raises that affect property owners only. Property taxes are low in the District. A significant increase is warranted to keep important funding for schools.

Sean

Need to lower taxes to increase number of DINKs (double income, no kids) living in the city. They don't consume resources but add a lot.

Cuttaxes

This assumes that our current government is operating efficiently. Frankly, we have a considerable opportunity to cut budgets and waste and eliminate those government workers who are unresponsive and don't return calls.

Revised Budget LMH

Limit tax burden but increase somewhat. Tax frivolous expenditures that also increase costs in health and other social areas. Limit growth of school budget. Provide social support for un- and underemployed.

ER

The object of this budget is to encourage consumer spending. Public safety needs status quo funding, but every other expenditure cut has the purpose of reducing workforce.

Too Much Overhead

Get rid of the bloated administrative costs in the city. That's the problem. And what's with all of the money they spend handing out tickets and the money they have to use to adjudicate all those tickets? Washington harasses its own clients. I would feel sorry for the loss of government jobs, but they will have a better opportunity to find a job in the private sector once businesses and residents become attracted to the lower tax rate.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 13, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Budget , D.C. Council  
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