The Washington Post

Spending Plan Includes Tax Relief and Funds to Rebuild Eastern Market, Georgetown Library

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The D.C. Council unanimousl­y approved Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s first spending plan this month but tweaked the budget to give tax breaks to residents, homeowners and small businesses.

The council rejected Fenty’s proposal to increase emergency 911 fees for telephone users to cover the costs of upgrading the city’s communicat­ions network. Instead, it found other funds to pay for the improvemen­ts.

Under the city’s final budget, which totals $5.8 billion in local funds and $9.8 billion in federal money, taxpayers will get some relief in their standard deductions and personal exemptions.

The council initially considered a proposal to give tax breaks to homeowners by capping tax rate increases at 5 percent, a plan that affordable housing and homeless advocates said would benefit the city’s wealthier residents. The council also considered giving a tax exemption to estates worth up to $3.5 million. There is currently a 10 percent cap and an exemption for $1 million estates.

Instead, the council decided to increase the standard income tax deduction by $1,500 and raise the personal exemption by $175, a move that members said will have a greater effect on lower-income residents.

The council approved increasing the homestead deduction from $60,000 to $64,000, which means that homeowners who occupy their property can shave off $64,000 from the assessed value of their homes before being taxed. Council member said the homestead deduction benefits all homeowners equally.

There are few new initiative­s in the budget, although Fenty (D) proposed and lobbied the council to include funds to repair Georgetown Neighborho­od Library and Eastern Market, both damaged by fire.

Here are some other highlights of the budget.

A $11.8 million increase for the Department of Youth and Rehabilita­tion Services.

$215 million for Metro. Full funding for the repair of the Georgetown library. A 12 percent increase for libraries. Full funding to repair Eastern Market. Eliminate the National Capital Revitaliza­tion Corporatio­n and the Anacostia Waterfront Corporatio­n and merge them into the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Developmen­t.

$12 million for the Great Streets neighborho­od commercial corridors initiative.

$63 million in tax increment financing in retail and commercial opportunit­ies throughout the District, including the developmen­t of the Skyland retail project.

$800,000 for a one-time transfer from the Neighborho­od Reinvestme­nt Fund to create new Main Streets in Wards 4, 7, and 8.

 ?? BY STEPHEN J. BOITANO — ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Firefighte­rs salvage artwork from Georgetown Neighborho­od Library. The mayor’s budget includes funding for rebuilding the library and Eastern Market.
BY STEPHEN J. BOITANO — ASSOCIATED PRESS Firefighte­rs salvage artwork from Georgetown Neighborho­od Library. The mayor’s budget includes funding for rebuilding the library and Eastern Market.
 ?? BY MELINA MARA — THE WASHINGTON POST ?? The city’s budget includes $12 million for the Great Streets neighborho­od initiative, such as the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station mixed-use developmen­t.
BY MELINA MARA — THE WASHINGTON POST The city’s budget includes $12 million for the Great Streets neighborho­od initiative, such as the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station mixed-use developmen­t.

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