The District is in a bit of a jam as far as taxes go. We don't have the ability to levy a commuter tax, and if we raise our income or sales taxes, some people may move to Virginia or Maryland where taxes are lower. In fact, the whole "image" of DC being the land of high tax is the main reason why the Council seems to be looking to make up the $666 million mostly with service cuts.
All sorts of things are getting the ax, including the Council's earmarks. This one is mostly thanks to Marion Barry's complete lack of ethics. If you are a non-profit in DC that receives earmarks and actually does something, tough cookies. Thanks to Barry and his ghost non-profits, you'll be missing out on funds and you might have to close down. Hope you don't do anything important. Or provide a safety net for when DC has to cut social services as well.
What else can be done to fill a Nationals Stadium-sized budget gap? Well, the time machine they are working on to go back and not build the Nats stadium with public funds is first on the chopping block. Also, there's a potential decrease in MPD officers. The hiring freeze will likely continue, and officers who leave via attrition might not be replaced. Some on the Council feel we are over policed anyways. Let the Park Police pick up the slack. Except in Trinidad.
Fee increases for residential parking are on the table, especially for those who have 2 or 3 or more vehicles. $15 for the first car, $50 for the 2nd, and then $100 each for more. Jesus I hope if you own three or more cars, you aren't parking them all on the street. If you are, you're an asshole and you should move to a place where you can afford a damn garage.
Anyhow, there was also some sort of talk about taxes on strip clubs, a "pole" tax if you will. Can't tell how serious an idea that was, but it came from Kwame Brown. Also, we might be getting Sunday liquor sales.
The Council is also floating the idea of cutting millions from the schools. What are we going to do, stop buying textbooks all together? Oh wait, no, they will just cut maintenance. Not that schools are literally crumbling or anything like that.
In any event, most of the discussions from yesterday don't get very close to the magic $666 number. The discussions will continue today, but sadly there won't be any live Tweeting. The City Paper is doing some sort of "Sex in the City Paper" issue and DeBonis will be Tweeting about courthouse marriages. Whatever.
Let's help out the DC Council and figure out some ways to save money. How about some creative taxes and fees? What about service cuts, what would you want to see?
I've got one: how about you stop collecting garbage at midnight on Sundays. Those big orange city trucks driving around like assholes in the middle of the night, collecting a weekend-evening or overnight differential. God, what are you paying them, like $50 an hour to do that?
Another possibility, more corporate sponsorship. Let's just bite the bullet, and find someone to slap their name on the Nats Stadium. RFK as well. I'm sure we could get a few thousand to rename it to CricKet Wireless Stadium. On the subject of RFK, perhaps it could be retrofitted to permit rodent racing. We could also introduce OTB for said rodent races. And whatever happened to the talk about slot machines on the Waterfront? Let's revive that idea. Also, remember the proposed streetlight tax? Come on Fenty and the Council, lets see some of that old moxy. Maybe a "flinty" winter tax of some kind.
There's talk about a tax on theatre tickets (surprised there isn't one already), but let's do some targeted food tax. Obvious and cliche targets are Jumbo Slice, cupcakes, gelato and fro-yo. We can't levy a commuter tax, but what's the legalty of actual toll booths? How about the hotel tax, as well? Would that many people stay in Crystal City instead if we hiked the hotel tax?
What say you, readers?