After debacle over advertising tax, D.C. Council chairman warns against tax increases

The leader of the D.C. Council is presenting a plan to overturn an advertising tax that he championed — and urging his colleagues to stop proposing last-minute tax increases to solve the city’s budget woes.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) announced a plan late Wednesday to trim $18 million from the city budget that a new sales tax on advertising would have collected.

The proposal would redirect $11 million to pay for capital projects in cash — a move that would increase the city’s borrowing costs in the long run — and reduce an increase in spending on community mental health services by $4 million, among other cuts. A vote is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

The jostling over the advertising tax followed tensions at the council over the first budget since the Great Recession where officials had to make cuts. Legislators who are used to flush revenue have less money to work with, and are facing more demands to provide relief for residents and businesses struggling under pandemic and economic turmoil.
SOURCE: Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

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