The Washington Post
Spending Plan Includes Tax Relief and Funds to Rebuild Eastern Market, Georgetown Library
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.