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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 12/16/2010

Debating the District's deficit: Jack Evans

By Martin Austermuhle

The second part of a three-part series on what's to come for the District's finances and how to close the huge budget deficit.

More Cuts, No New Taxes
Jack Evans (Ward 2) is the longest-serving member of the Council, and the location and decoration of his office serves of evidence of it. Evans occupies a corner space on the first floor of the Wilson Building, and virtually every inch of wall space in his office is covered with hundreds of photographs of him with other elected officials or minor celebrities. (The photographs apparently shift with the changing fortunes of the people in them. Michelle Rhee is now harder to find, but Vince Gray certainly isn't.)

As soon as I pose a question about the city's finances, Evans launches into a 20-minute-long soliloquy that quickly proves two things: he knows his stuff, and he's adamantly against raising taxes.

"It's never for me," says Evans of Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells' proposals, which would impose small tax increases on District residents making more than $75,000 a year. "That's the fallacy of raising the income tax. Frankly, it's an easy way out; it's popular. Of course we want to tax the millionaires and save the grandmothers program, but then it really gives the Council the opportunity to not make the tough decisions."

Evans, who has served on the Council for the better part of two decades and chairs its finance committee, points out that since 2002, the size of the District's government has grown 65 percent, the majority of which has come in the human services and education sectors. As revenues slowed in recent years, the increased spending begot a widening budget deficit that was covered by dipping into the city's savings account. From a high of $1.6 billion in 2006, the account has shrunk 57 percent through 2010.

Continue reading this piece by Martin Austermuhle here at

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Martin Austermuhle  | December 16, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Local blog network  
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Posted by: billiecpolk | December 17, 2010 3:47 AM | Report abuse

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