SUNDAY TAKE: DC Budget Reforms Must Be Forward Thinking and Forward Looking

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The DC Statehood Green Party's "Sunday Take" seeks to provide weekly progressive commentary on prominent articles appearing in Washington, DC area print media. 

SUNDAY TAKE: While 2017 is indeed a time great uncertainty for all of us who call the District home, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute's Ed Lazere misses a lot in his Washington Post op-ed.

Lazere opposes a progressive tax cut for our working class residents this year and an increase in the standard deduction/personal exemption for DC income taxes that would only cost DC a modest $9.4 million. Further, he says nothing to support the long overdue proposals of the Fair Budget Coalition’s letter sent to the Mayor/DC Council at the end of January, including:

1) Withdrawing all subsidies and abatements from developers and corporations doing business in the District who are not complying with local hiring and affordable housing requirements or wage and other labor law;

2) Eliminating District subsidies for housing providers and property owners who operate housing units with substandard or unlawful living conditions; increase taxes on developers building luxury /high-end condominiums;

3) Reconsidering subsidized development projects that do not meet basic resident needs like the streetcar, soccer stadium, and Wizard’s practice facility;

4) Raising taxes on wealthy individuals and families, particularly those whose federal income tax rates may be lowered in the next federal budget.

DC Millionaires now pay a lower overall DC tax rate (6.4%) than all but the poorest residents, with families earning $50K a year paying the highest (10.3%), a pattern that will continue if 2014 tax legislation is not revised. 

Last and most importantly, because a Trump/Ryan federal income tax cut giveaway is very likely for wealthy residents, states could hike their own income tax rate for the same residents leaving them paying the same overall amount in taxes (federal plus state), but generating badly needed revenue. Using this approach, DC would benefit from an additional $300 million a year in revenue.

 

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