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Council rejects higher taxes for wealthy residents

The D.C. Council Wednesday rejected a proposal to raise income taxes on residents who earn $350,000 or more annually.

Although the council continues to debate the budget, it has now all but ruled out property or income tax increases next year. But the council plans to extend the city's 6 percent sales tax to sweetened beverages and assess a tax on medical marijuana.

The proposal to raise taxes on wealthy residents was made by Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Currently, District residents who earn $40,000 or more pay an income tax rate of 8.5 percent. Graham proposed raising the rate to 8.9 percent for residents who earn $350,000 or more a year. Graham argued the increase was needed to boost funding for social service programs and the Office of Latino Affairs.

But Graham's amendment was rejected by a vote of 8 to 5. The majority argued wealthy residents would flee the city if taxes were raised.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D-At large) joined Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Kwame Brown (D-At large), David I Catania (I-At large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 1), Phil Mendelson (D-At large) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) in voting against Graham's proposal.

Along with Graham, Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Michael Brown (I-At large), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) supported raising the income tax on the wealthy.

--Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 26, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
Categories:  Budget , Tim Craig  
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Wait A Second, we thew poorest pay the highest TAX, something is very WRONG with this system,we the poorest get no increase and yet the wealthy almost pat no Tax's because of all sort's of LOOP HOLE'S. Why is this? Can someone please answer?

Posted by: onesugar | May 26, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Along with Graham, Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Michael Brown (I-At large), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) supported raising the income tax on the wealthy."

...ehhh did I read that right? Marion Barry? hahahaha, how the eff is this guy still on DC council?

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | May 26, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

How does the District's 8.5% income tax compare to other localities? How does the proposed 8.9% on those making more than $350K compare to other localities? One would think WaPo would report on this.

Posted by: nomayo | May 26, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

As someone who attended the meeting, I think this an egregious oversimplification of the opposing argument. While keeping DC's income tax rates in line with its neighbors was a concern, it was certainly not the only (or even primary) reason other council members rejected the proposal.

Several council members viewed the amendment as a band-aid approach, rejecting the idea of taxing more just to spend more, especially when overspending is one of the main causes of the district's current financial crisis. Other council members commented that they were open to discussing higher income taxes for the wealthy but disagreed with Graham's particular designation of funds. Some stated that using an income tax to finance a few pet programs was not only an inefficient use of a tax increase but also short-sided in regards to long-term budgetary flexibility.

Seriously WaPo, either you think your readers are complete idiots who aren't capable of understanding a semi-complex debate, or this is some seriously lazy reporting.

Posted by: visualantics | May 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

If DC residents aren't already fleeing to VA at the current tax rate (I believe VA's state income tax is about half that of DC's), I doubt they're going to flee over an extra .4%.

Posted by: pswift00 | May 26, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

i have a ssa undisbuted/notwithstanding medical claim of a lifetime of severe alergic reactions to thimerosal the so-called preservative in vaccines in reality it is two of the most deadliest toxins on earth/mercury/ was concealed from me all my life and my siblings life(shes dead) with the aid of the ama dr.s.intentional vaccine injury. dr. still practicing medicine ...nothing done to her.please call your congressman and senators and ask why has thimerosal been in vaccines since the great depression it for the purpose of human right violations...while only the elite profit...slavery wages and poisoned...that is what we the people have been recieving...perhaps we need to have independents in washington...oh and im being persecuted with ongoing civil right due process from ssa requsted the declaration of rights in the determination on duel-entitlements...ssa stands mute...

Posted by: freemeeagle | May 26, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Why does the council think the way to fix the current budget problem is to raise taxes and not reduce spending?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | May 26, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

If it doesn't bother District citizens who make $40,000/yr that they pay income taxes at the same rate as someone making $300,000/yr then it is not the Council that clueless, it is the majority of the citizens who fall into that category. That would be the majority of District residents.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | May 26, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Also, Jack Evans is councilman for Ward 2, not Ward 1.

Posted by: visualantics | May 26, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

If the Council Chair can return fund's for the street car, Instead of returning fund's for the street car How about fund's for the resident's of the District of Columbia, What's wrong with our DC Council?

Posted by: onesugar | May 26, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: drfields | May 26, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Gray for Mayor!!!!

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | May 27, 2010 6:05 AM | Report abuse

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