Mayor Fenty, Chairman Gray slip campaign points into budget debate
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray faced off Thursday morning for the first time since Gray announced he wants Fenty's job.
Gray, who declared his candidacy for mayor Tuesday, and Fenty sat across the table from each other when the mayor briefed the council on his proposed 2011 budget.
While their interaction was cordial, Gray and Fenty started offering the media -- and through it the public -- a preview of their respective campaigns as the jockeying begins regarding how to close an estimated $555 million budget shortfall.
After Fenty spelled out his proposals, including a $140 million increase in school spending, 385 layoffs and new fees, Gray expressed skepticism that his proposal was really balanced.
"When you read the documents, it sounds like things are great -- and we know things are not great here or other places," said Gray, questioning how Fenty could balance the budget with his proposed increase in school funding.
"The reality is, in order to do this, we are going to have to do less of that, so what is the 'less of that'?" Gray asked.
Fenty responded that he fashioned a budget that spends more on education while consolidating government and avoiding, he claimed, higher taxes. (Though Fenty is proposing a 1 percent tax on hospitals, an increase in the 911 fee and higher parking fees.)
-- Tim Craig
Christopher Dean Hopkins
April 1, 2010; 2:52 PM ET
Categories: 2010 District Election , Budget , Mayor Fenty , Vincent C. Gray
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