Are New Tax Brackets a Good Idea?

I saw this sign on 11th St, NW on Sunday and then this morning received the following email from Save Our Safety Net:

Wed, May 19, 2010
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

We’re in the final stretch of the DC budget process — and millions of dollars of funding for safety net services are at stake.

We’ve proposed that the City can save our safety net by creating new tax brackets for the highest-earning 5% of DC residents. Six Councilmembers have declared their support for progressive tax increases — but we need a seventh!

So on Wednesday May 19th, we’re going down to show City Council what a real safety net looks like. We’ll ask Councilmembers to join us in building the net that keeps our city healthy and stable.

And to do all this, we need you too! Come down to the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW) to join with us in this action.

Further explanation:

The top tax bracket in DC currently starts at $40,001. (That means everyone making more than that pays the same tax rate.) The city could raise approximately $50 million in revenue by creating additional tax brackets: 9% for DC residents earning more than $200,000 (a .5% increase), and 9.4% for those earning more than $1,000,000 (a .9% increase). Together, these increases would affect less than 5% of our population — but they would enable the city to protect safety net programs that keep our communities safe and strong.

Do you think creating additional tax brackets is a good idea or will it drive wealthy residents out of DC?

176 Comment

  • I actually think reducing the tax brackets in line with Virginia or MD would raise more money. I’m in a high tax bracket and I simply bought a house in Rappahannock county as a weekend place to avoid paying *any* DC taxes. Raising taxes on people who can afford such things just chases them away. I’m not sure if anyone has studied that but I know at least 4 other people who did the same thing (bought an investment property in DE, MD, or VA).

    • Tax evasion much?

      • +1. You’re going to jail.

        • God I hope so (re: jail) – that’s ridiculous. Pay your fair share in taxes.

          • um. what do you pay in taxes? he gets the same services and probably pays more than 10x than you do.

          • Fair share isn’t the same thing when all these idiots overuse services that other people end up paying for. Why should the rich subsidize idiots?

          • DC law makes this easy to do (legally) because of its bright-line 180 day rule. People who make a lot travel a lot too. I know many people who do it.

          • I guess I worded that last sentence wrong. Just don’t freaking break the law. How difficult is that?! And if you’ll see my post below, I’m against raising taxes for the higher incomes.

      • Actually it’s perfectly legal, assuming Anon spends 180 days there.

      • It’s not tax evasion if you split your time between DC and the other place.

    • BS, I’ve run the numbers, you tell me how you avoid VA’s high taxes after you end up losing your homestead deduction on property taxes. Do the math. Your real estate taxes will double in DC. print out some numbers here if this story is at all true, which I doubt it is. Your DC taxes are going to go up significantly and your car tax is going to kick in too.

      • Subruban Maryland and Virginia don’t have the crime density or poor schools that DC does.

        Maryland and Virginia actually lock up their offenders.

      • I’m not the one you are responding to, but your math is wrong, Neener. You have no clue what you are talking about. First, the homestead deduction is only worth $573.75 ($67,500 x .0085). But here are some very plausible numbers:

        Property Assessed Value (w/o homestead): $700,000

        DC Income tax=15800
        DC Property tax (w/ homestead)=5376.25
        DC Bill=21176

        VA Income tax=10522.50
        VA Property tax (Arlington County)=6020
        VA Bill (Arlington)=16542.50

        Even if you were to live in Fairfax County, which has a higher property tax rate than Arlington (1.09 per 100 vs. .86 per 100), you’d still pay less. In Fairfax your total bill would be $18152.

        Learn the facts and do your own math before spouting nonsense.

  • I also add that I do leave DC for 180 days a year — 150 at the inverstment house and 5 weeks for vacation. NOt everyone probably does that but DC law just requires you not sleep in DC half the time to avoid the DC tax.

    • Sorry didn’t realize this was related to the first post! I guess if that’s not against the law then more power to you.

  • DC is not Fairfax and I think many of the uber-wealthy who live in DC are well aware of this and have made the choice to live in the city due to the lifestyle it can give them. If the new tax bracket was completely outrageous, yes, I think some people would leave but I really don’t think that people who live in Georgetown mansions, Chevy Chase, etc are gonna pick up and move to comparably-nice area in VA or MD, the lifestyle is too different.
    And as someone who makes 45k a year, I find it insulting that I pay the same tax rate as someone who makes 200k…40k (where the higher tax bracket starts) is NOT a lot of money in this city.

    • You don’t pay the same amount. You pay the same percentage. So I don’t see why you’re insulted.

      • Actually, you both have it wrong.

        Someone making $45K is not paying the same percentage or rate of income taxes as someone making $200K. You’re only paying the higher rate on the money you make over $40K (where the top tax bracket starts). So someone making $45K is paying the top tax rate on only $5K of their salary, whereas someone making $200K is paying the top tax rate for $160K of their salary.

        People really need to understand marginal tax rates better.

        People also need to understand that progressive taxation (i.e., the rich pay a higher percentage of their income) is a mainstay of our income taxation system, always has been, and counts Adam Smith (i.e., father of modern capitalism) among its proponents.

        • The social safety net was implemented by Nixon in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. Adam Smith died in 1790.

          I’m pretty sure he never envisioned the modern social safety net.

      • I never said I paid the same I amount I said “tax rate” which means percentage. I’m not that stupid to think that I would pay the same physical amount of taxes as someone who makes 200k.

  • DC actually has a lower tax burden than Maryland, and the new tax brackets being considered by the Council would keep our top rate below the top tax rate in Montgomery County.

    Many people in the top 5% that we’ve talked to are happy to pay a small additional contribution to preserve safety net services that we all depend on. I know that’s something important to many of my Columbia Heights neighbors, even if we don’t make enough to be impacted by the increase.

    • “Safety net services that we all depend on” is language I don’t get and a pretty vague way of putting it. The top %5 in DC, I imagine, don’t depend on much, if anything, from the city. What, specifically, do you mean when you say this?

      • Well, perhaps it’s like the safety net that keeps the losers who still live on my block from stealing money for everything instead of stealing occasionally. (I am talking about one specific family, not everyone)

        • Is the “safety net” welfare? Cause that is not a safety net, it’s a way of life. I live behind projects in for 3 years. The big black women that lived there didn’t have jobs, but had plenty of time to pop out kids. Instead of hitting DC’s working people, they should just cut cash benefits to welfare queens and their spawn. It would fix the budget problem in a second.

          • Safety net programs make our communities strong and healthy. The safety net is job training, adult education, affordable child care for working, domestic violence shelters, health care, affordable housing, and other programs. You may not yourself need any of these services right now, but their availability enhances your quality of life.

            TANF (the new welfare program, as of 1996) pays a households of a woman and two childre $428 a month. Many have dealt with domestic violence, homelessness, and health issues. Most are not on the program more than a few years, while they get back on their feet.

          • Jopo is a liar. 75% of DC’s welfare recipients had been on welfare more than 5 years in 2008. That means that while the economy was booming, those welfare queens were just living high off the hog. Also, TANF is jsut the cash payment. You forgot the food stamps, free rent, child care and the free breakfast and lunch their children get at schools. These programs don’t make communities stronger (the community would be stronger if the welfare queens got a job or left the city).

          • I have to call you out if you blame the kids of irresponsible parents. No kid asks to be born into these houses and I’d be in favor of raising the taxes to provide 9hr/ day school and 3 square meals a day for every kid in DCPS.

            But that’s not going to happen. The same shitty services are just going to get funded for a few more years. The same non-profit heads are going to keep their $250k/year salaries, employ a half dozen bright eyed ivy league liberal arts majors at $30k per year, and give %25 of their grant to the actual residents of the city.

          • No one is blaming the children,just their fat lazy mothers and the useless trash that keep impregnating them.

  • The “this only affects a very small percentage of the population” argument is routinely used to justify tax increases on the “wealthy.” It’s a way of propagating the myth that there is such a thing as a free lunch – “Don’t worry about the cost of these programs because someone else will pay for them.” If the social safety net is so important (and I happen to think it is), everyone should be willing to pay a little more in taxes, not just the “wealthy.” And taxpayers should know that they are getting programs that actually deliver results.

  • I’m really torn on this. I feel like we already pay a ridiculous amount of taxes to DC and don’t get much in return. If I could trust that city services would be improved – better police response, better trash collection, better road maintenance, better schools, better youth services, etc. – then I’d absolutely be willing to pay 0.5% more. But given that this is DC, I find it hard to believe that things will change. They’ll just have their hands deeper into my paycheck and everyone will still be complaining about the same things.

    • This tax increase is so the City Council can get through an election year and get reelected.

    • This is my position exactly. I’d be happy to pay more if I thought there was any chance of the money actually accomplishing what it is meant for.

  • @ Anon, I think most people who make $200k a year have to spend at least 1/2 of their time in DC to go to work, so I wouldn’t worry about droves of people heading for the hills, so to speak, as a result of the tax increase.

  • I will move to MD or VA if this passes. Pardon me for working my way thru college and working my way into a good paying job.

    • If it will drive people with your attitude out of the city, that’s one more common sense reason to pass it.

      Yes, we should pass it. A top tax bracket that starts at a non-profit salary is just bad policy.

        • -1

          Yet another short sighted, free lunch hippie. Probably someone who has never had to break his back doing hard manual labor.

          • Yeah, nonprofits are a joke. I know people who work at them. It’s pretty much like working for the government. You don’t have to work 40 hours (or even work) and you can’t get fired. Oh and your organizations attract the scum of the city and don’t pay taxes.

          • To anonymous 1:38: Just… shut up. There are all kinds of nonprofits scattered all around the city, and I don’t know who your friends are, but my friends and I who work at nonprofits regularly work 50-60 hours a week for low pay, because we actually give a shit about what we’re working for.

            Do you routinely put in 20+ hour shifts for your job? No? Then don’t you dare call us lazy.

      • Re: “A top tax bracket that starts at a non-profit salary is just bad policy.”

        Virginia’s top tax rate starts at $17,000. What do you think of that? Your argument makes no sense and shows a lack of understanding of state taxation (I can’t wait to see your jaw drop to the floor when you learn that some states don’t even HAVE an income tax).

    • why do I doubt you’re all the way through college yet.

  • 250,000 in DC is not wealthy… Sorry, but at amount, for a family of four (i.e. me, my wife and two daughters), we are still priced out of buying a home in any dc hood with a good public school (Shepard’s park may be the exception). We have one beat up old care and a very small house in CH, right next to the f-ing projects. My wife and I are both higher GS scale employees and its getting nearly impossible to stay within a reasonable from work.

    My biggest problem with the new brackets is that the DC gov has plenty of cash already but blows it on waste and political largess. If I could be assured that the money actually went to helping people lift themselves from poverty, them fine I’ll pay. But until they can prove that, hell no.

  • Jesus Christ, i don’t know how people are so dumb that they don’t understand the full effect of something so short-sighted as this. People have the choice of several jurisdictions to live in in this area. Lowering the tax burden for the “wealthy” in DC caused higher income people to begin to move back into the city. Raising it will encourage new higher income people to choose other places to live, and prevent the tax base from growing. There is precedent for this in Maryland and right here in DC.

    If you could do this in a bubble, i can see the argument for it, but we don’t live in a bubble.

    • There isn’t a precendent for this happening in MD, as far as I’ve found. All the studies that show that people left MD after higher taxes didn’t compare that percentage loss to other places.

      Also, the increases are, right now, posed at .5% and .9% which amounts to a few hundred dollars more in taxes each year.

    • Jesus Christ, I don’t know how people are so dumb that they dont’ understand the full picture of your annual expenses and are so short-sighted to think that taxes are the only part of the bottom line. Living close to your place of employment and closer to urban ameninties reduces your transportation costs, your car insurance, your time spent on the road (which could be spent earning more money or earning more family time), your flexibility in timing to get to work.

      If taxes were the bubble of your annual expenses, then I can see the argument against it, but your finances don’t live in a bubble.

  • Maybe PoP could do an income poll. I think it would reveal a lot of what’s underneath the warped perspective at this place — namely, a sense of entitlement to a certain level of wealth and lifestyle because of “how hard I worked in college.” You did nothing more than have the good fortune of being born into a family that made it possible for you to go to college. And I don’t care if you paid for it with your own money.

    Pass it. The rich are too rich and the poor are too poor.

    • This isn’t an argument for/against this proposal, just a dig at your ridiculous logic; putting aside the absurdity of assuming that everyone who works hard and/or went to college must have had a solid family structure, you’re saying that they should also be taxed more because of that?

    • Idiot…

      I hand the “privileged” of being born into a family on immigrant day laborers! I have worked and bleed for everything thing I have. I worked my way through HIGH SCHOOL and College.

      Have you ever worker construction in the Southwest summer? I have. Have you ever used GI bill money to pay for College? I have. Screw you, because you feel some kind of guilt for your privileged upbringing, don’t force me to pay for it.

      You have no idea what rich and poor mean. Is some who makes $200,000 in DC rich?? NO. I might buy the $1mil argument.

    • oh good lord, as if you never met the child of a rich person who was a total failure in life and became poor or the child of a poor person who got tremendous breaks in life and became rich. within 4 doors of me is the musician son of a powerful lawyer who bought his house in 1990 when grandma died and barely gets by from his waiter job and the widow of an African-American doctor who bought the house in 1961 and grew up in segregated DC and went to teacher’s college in the 1940s. Class barely exists at all in the USA and is almost always fluid.

    • That’s a stupid comment.
      My parent’s didn’t pay jack squat for my college education. It was hard enough to get them to fill out the FASA or whatever forms just to prove I was broke enough for the Pell Grant and my parents were broke too.
      If you’re a poor kid with brains (sorry there is no state program to spread the brains) go to state school, do work study, find the co-op dorms, & don’t take up useless majors that don’t pay.
      A few other kids in my neighborhood, raised by single moms or grandparents found a way, because we were bright enough to figure out college and how to pay (or take out massive loans) for it.
      So it’s insulting to me and I’m sure others who didn’t have a stable mid class family to put them through school to say that college is only for the upper classes.

      CAPTCHA “of overcame” Yeah baby

  • Marcus Auerlius makes a good point–if these things are so important, everyone should be able to bear at least some of the burden. Otherwise, why not ramp up spending for everything under the sun and only tax the small number of people making over $250K?

    Plus, there’s only so much you can tax someone before they change residences. A 1% increase in taxes isn’t that much for most of us, since we earn and are taxed less, but for the richest residents that can mean enough money to justify simply crossing the river and living there the majority of the year to save quite a bit. The rich are pretty good at finding ways to shelter their income.

    Before any tax increase the first question really ought to be whether the money being spent could be used any more efficiently–people seem to have less resistance to paying taxes when they at least feel that the money is being spent wisely and fairly. When a city doesn’t appear to be competent with its spending it’s not surprising when people react angrily to suggestions of tax increases.

  • Wouldn’t it make more sense to find a way to attract wealthy taxpayers to the District, rather than build more barriers? JoPo – many? How many? The WaPo article the other day was a joke. They may not move out, but who says any will move in.

    I would like to see the $40k floor increased to $100k and indexed for inflation.

  • If I thought that the problem was insufficient funding I’d be fine with a targeted tax increase. But I’m not convinced that the city spends the money it has wisely, and until that happens I say tax increases just cover up the problem.

  • I’m someone who would likely pay more under this tax and I support it. I don’t know how much Take5 makes, but if it’s in the $200,000- $300,000 range than the actual tax increase will be about $200 a year. The moving truck will cost more than that! Not to mention your yearly transportation costs if you continue to work in the city.
    CM Michael Brown held a forum on this last week and found that a lot of high income people actually support this proposal:

    • Yeah, thank Jebus the readership here isn’t reflective of the sentiments of people in real life who pay actual taxes.

      • +1, and good article. Some of the people posting here remind me of the people who said they were going to drive out to VA to do their grocery shopping because of the 5c bag tax.

  • Okay if you actually figure the numbers out…

    $20,000 taxed @ 8.5%: tax $1,700, net salary $18,300

    $40,000 taxed @ 8.5%: tax $3,400, net salary $36,600

    $200,000 taxed @ 8.5%: tax $17,000, net salary $183,000
    $200,000 taxed @ 9.0%: tax $18,000, net salary $182,000

    $1,000,000 taxed @ 8.5%: tax $85,000, net salary $915,000
    $1,000,000 taxed @ 9.4%: tax $94,000, net salary $906,000

    I wouldn’t be affected by this increase, but I still don’t think it’s fair to take almost $10k extra from someone. You still get a hell of a lot of money with the 8.5% tax. That’s why it’s a percentage and not a fixed amount. Everyone should pay their fair share.

  • I recently moved and don’t pay income taxes here anymore, so take this for what it’s worth, but I think it’s a lousy idea. It would be one thing if the citizens of DC could rely on the DC Council for anything, but unfortunately the (1) historically rampant and ongoing fraud, waste, and abuse and (2)incompetency/inefficiency of any part of the District bureaucracy with which I came into contact were the overriding thoughts I had when I contemplated my DC tax bill in years past. So, if I hadn’t already left, something like this certainly would have made me think really long and hard about a different jurisdiction.

    The problem, as I see it: when you’re working off the DC Council’s track record, it’s a pretty hard sell to the top-5% earners that they should stomach paying more in taxes while they simultaneously are being bombarded with WaPo and City Paper stories about how inefficiently the city is run and, frankly, living surrounded by hard evidence of a poorly run city. (Anecdotally, we actually wanted to stay in the city at first, but decided against it after too many people told us that, if we had kids, it was a “$20,000+ per kid, per year tax” to get them educated when DCPS was your other option.) Cut some fat or up some deliverables first; don’t just ask the fortunate few to pay for even more lousy programs.

    Living in MoCo now, I can tell you that I’d grin and bear it if the same proposal were floated there, as I’ve been resoundingly impressed by the local services: roads well plowed when it snows; garbage/recycling picked up when it’s supposed to be (and not with debris left all over my street); public parks that are well kept, clean and safe; police that not only respond when called but actually catch and prosecute the perps; and of course, schools to which I’d send my kid without a second of hesitation.

    The problem in DC isn’t the concept, it’s the absolute lack of credibility on the District’s ability to execute.

    • +1: Well written and thought out. I hope people don’t say “well we’re glad you left and don’t come back” because it seems like you really wanted to stay in the city.

    • You know it wasn’t just proposed in MoCo, right? It was enacted.

      Anyone who would dismiss DC school options because of “their friends” doesn’t need to live here anyway. Can’t wait till we get to tax your commute in to work!!

      • Not that I made any mention of my friends, but thank you for showing me the errors of my ways. Never again will I seek the input of people who have some experience in an area of life (kids, school systems, etc.) that I do not before making a consequential life decision. I hope someday you’ll see fit to once again have me live among you and your omniscient ilk.

        (For the record, wiseacre, I also dismiss DCPS bc of my experiences volunteering in the DCPS schools, encounters with DCPS products as an alumni interviewer for my alma mater, and previous professional experiences as a teacher. But you’re not really interested in that, now are you?)

        • So your experience with an alum was from the neighborhood school you are currently zoned for? You see no potential improvement in the next 8 years (assuming you have a 5 year old you will be high school age then?).

          I seriously doubt you ever set foot in your neighborhood school, or investigated the specific school you would have been zoned for when looking to move. Do you even have any idea what the boundaries are for any of the schools in the city?

          There are dozens and dozens of campuses, no 2 are alike. Here’s a news flash– not all of the schools in Fairfax or MoCo are good either!

    • Interestingly, I think you hit on the biggest problem driving upper middle income/wealthy residents out of the city: DCPS. Many folks who would prefer to live in the city for the lifestyle end up leaving because of the schools. Make the schools better, and the lifestyle is worth the other sacrifices, including a higher tax burden.

      But if we always start from the assumption that DCPS, will never get better, it never will. (And Ms Rhee is starting to show that DCPS can in fact get better. Because she and others believed.)

      Similarly, if we start from the assumption that DC politics are essentially corrupt and can never get better, and that no matter how much money we throw at the city, then it will be corrupt, and it will never get better.

      I think it is so much more constructive to try to make it better. ‘Be the change’ as it were. I know, I’m going all post-modern on y’all, but it is truly what I believe.

      Full disclosure: I am a DC resident with two kids, one at a charter school and one who will attend a DCPS school next year, who may be impacted by the potential tax increase. And I am happy to pay.

      Ha! Captcha = payment tycoon

      • This is what I would have said if I wasn’t feeling snarky.

      • My experience with parents in DC seems to show the belief that some of the charter schools here are superior to some of the public schools in MD or VA. Of course there are some challenges, but thats everywhere. This was not an option 10 years ago for middle/upper income residents with children….it is now!

      • Well written, and thank you for the post. I believe, things will get better and that’s why I’m still here. But, I’d like to see more improvement before handing over anymore cahs.

    • You make a well stated case, Anon. I wouldn’t be subject to the tax increase, but I too am pretty pessimistic about this city’s ability to make good use of its resources.

      I say first cut the fat (or the dead wood, as M Rhey so controversially did). If then the city is hell-bent on raising taxes, I say use Peruvian-style taxes – like plastic bag taxes, soda taxes, increased fines/and or enforcement for having lose trash in your yard. These tools can improve individual behavior and make the city a better place to live while increasing the city’s tax revenues.

  • @ Mal, that’s not the way tax brackets work.

    If > $200K is taxed at 9%, it’s only income OVER $200,000. So for someone who makes $220k, their first $200k is still taxed @ 8.5%. So the difference in what they’ll pay between the current and future policy is only $20,000 x .005 = $100.

    • No way! Totally didn’t know that. Thanks for the clarification /*hides head in shame*\ I guess that’s why I’m an engineer and not an accountant.

    • ah

      On the other hand, the claimed “percent increase” in the PR is highly misleading. Going from 8.5% to 9.4% is not a .9% increase. It is over a 10% increase (.9/8.5) in the tax rate on income above that amount. Similar for the middle bracket, which is about a 6% increase (.5/8.5).

      That’s not insignificant.

  • So, thanks LJ for pointing out the fact that this would actually not increase the tax burden on the wealthy much, but would still raise close to 40 million dollars that Save Our Safety Net is pushing the council to use to PRESERVE existing safety net programs. This isn’t about new programs, this isn’t about waste and fraud, this is about preserving programs that have existed in this city and help thousands of people survive every day.

    The amount that this would actually raise folks taxes is significantly less than it would cost them to move to another jurisdiction, so that argument doesn’t really fly.

    • It’s not about people getting up and moving out in outrage, it’s about encouraging new higher income residents to move into the city. This is the exact opposite direction we should be heading. We should make the tax burden for the wealthiest residents competitive with Virginia.

  • tax brackets in the US have never driven residents anywhere. My taxes are significantly lower in DC than they would be in MD and VA as far as I know. I used a relative’s MD tax software once (including their property taxes) and I came in way under Montgomery County. So, basically, anyone saying that high tax rates will drive out the rich really don’t understand the tax burden that Montgomery County asks of residents (60% of MD State Taxes). can you imagine what your tax bill would be like of Ward 1 requested 60% (!) of your DC taxes on top of the DC taxes? My relative pays $7000 per year for property taxes and I pay like $4000. Add up the real numbers and you’ll see that for households making $200k plus the numbers for living in DC are great.

    • yup, too bad math is hard. These people’s suburban Ohio schools weren’t good enough to teach them math, but they insist the DC schools aren’t good enough for their little Mylee

    • I don’t know what software you were running, Neener, but you’re off. It’s a state/sub-jurisdiction issue in MD — what you pay is driven by which county you’re in, but in no case is the combined rate higher than about 9.5% (the top state tax rate of 6.25% on people who earn more than $1M + top county tax rate of 3.25%, roughly what this proposal would do in DC).

      For most people, income taxes are probably comparable to DC, which just has a much higher base tax rate (8.5% on every dollar over 40k vs. 4.75% STATE rate up to 150k and 5% up to 300k) and no local adjustment. And yes, the total tax burden is higher than in the District, esp. when you figure in higher property taxes, but the services also blow DC out of the water.

  • Though I don’t mind paying more taxes, I am unhappy with the level of fraud in DC. Cut out the fraud and theft by city employees and I will gladly pay more. With our current system in place the money won’t go where it is needed anyway.

  • Until someone makes a solid case supporting the wise allocation of our current tax dollars, and proves that there really isn’t anything left after all basic services are adequately covered, I won’t support raising taxes another penny. Maybe “save our safety net” could start by doing this, rather than pulling stunts to support more increases? Until I see that, I’d rather that extra $10,000 or whatever per “wealthy” household continue to be utilized in the economy, rather than in the government.

    • those households like mine would probably put that additional money toward a 401k. How does that affect the economy?

    • You’d have to be making over $1M in order for this proposal to result in higher taxes of $10,000 or more. For folks like that, as neener pointed out, that extra money isn’t going to be spent in the economy since they can already afford everything they need.

      • Those who can afford everything they need also spend on things they don’t; things that are shipped, sold and (sometimes…thx offshoring) manufactured within our economy. If they aren’t spending on things they don’t need, they’re investing…either way, it’s going back into the economy. Why do you all assume that extra money just sits there in a safe or a mattress? That’s not how it works. Like I said, I wouldn’t be affected, but even I understand how disposable income works, given that I do still have some. After my bills are paid, and I’ve put away some for savings/retirement, I spend on things I don’t need.

        And don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-tax or anti-government by any means; if we were truly tapped out and there was no waste, corruption or innefficiencies, I’d be all for this, or a proposal to raise taxes evenly across the board. But unfortunately, we’re not, and no one can prove otherwise.

        • You got me; I misspoke. What I should have said is that someone earning $1,000,000 a year can already afford every good or service they could possibly want, as well. And no, I don’t think socking money into a mutual fund/401k grows the real economy or creates jobs.

      • Yes, but I’ll bet my tax increase that there are fewer than 200 people in DC that make $1M, which only results in about $2M in DC revenue which still isn’t enough to save the social safety net.

        • Well, then you would lose your tax increase. DC is ranked in the top ten in terms of “states (even though it isn’t one)with most millionares.

          DC had ~13,000 “millionares” in 2008. Granted, I don’t know how they determined the value and much of that can likely be attributed to home values, but it takes large salaries to buy expensive homes.

          Oh, and just for reference, DC is home to thousands of attorneys

        • No, I think Ragged Dog is right that there are probably only a couple of hundred people living in DC who earn $1M or more every year. The rest of the revenue will come from the upper-middle/upper class, to the tune of a few hundred dollars a year in increased taxes in most cases. My point was just to combat Alex’s hyperbole that DC is going to be taking $10,000 from every moderately-high income household.

        • Not sure about the credibility of this group, but they claim 13,028 millionaires in DC in 2009.

          • There’s a big difference between a millionaire (someone with a net worth of $1M) and someone who makes $1M in income year after year.

            I’m pretty sure we want to be talking about the former.

          • I mean latter 🙂

          • I’m worth a million – if I sell off the property I bought 25 years ago (as a waitress – with a group house for 20 of those years) when CH was a s**t place. But I’ve been living here since and still want to. Yearly income of 50-60,000 is comfortable, (lifestyle is frugal but not miserly) but after taxes in no way profligate.

            Still, I would gladly pay more to a competent government to support the truly needy and nurture a fantastic city.

            So how do we get that? ?? !!!

  • A minor tax increase wouldn’tconvince me to move to the suburbs and suffer the soul-crushing consequences of the mcmansion/murderous-commute lifestyle. If that’s your thing, you probably would be moving out of DC, eventually, anyway. Believe it or not, many of us are committed city dwellers. We see city life as being better than suburban life, and yes, we’re willing to pay a premium for that lifestyle. Also worth mentioning: a fundamental problem in DC is tax scofflaws. If everyone paid what they owe [including registering the Tahoe mom gave you], we could all pay a little less.

    • well I’m on my way out after nearly 20 years let me tell you. After 20 years I take some offense at the idea that I would always be moving out eventually. I probably wouldn’t if my environment changed (or didn’t change) like it was “supposed” to.

      Here are the things that are driving me out:
      1. The young kid who we all helped grow up now hangs out with a drug crew. His extended family is falling apart at the seams, 6 people in one small house is too much and doesn’t stay at home.
      2. The drug dealer down the block is out of his court program.
      3. My car has been broken into twice.
      4. these houses don’t have enough closets compared to modern houses.
      5. The neighborhood is less racially diverse than Bethesda. I’ve been on blocks with significant Indian, Korean, Arab, Chinese and Jewish populations all of which are missing from my block which is now White and Black with two Asian residents and no Latinos anymore.
      6. Noise, crowds and 25 yr old intern culture is so different from my life. I still like 1980s punk rock but the kids on my block listen to Dave Matthews or rap at loud volumes.
      7. The scofflaws of all stripes are too much for me to take after 20 years. Harriette Walters bothers me more than you can imagine and so do the neighbors who don’t register their cars or are proud of stealing school property.
      8. Volunteerism got worse as gentrifiers became the majority, they do a lot less clean up than I did when there were 5 young couples on the block.
      9. Going out, my favorite reason for living in DC is insanely expensive. I used to love to find some funky place and drop $15 on dinner for 2. With a family I find a funky place and it costs me $45. I took everyone out to eat recently and after tip it was $120. I used to go out to eat 3-4 times on a weekend, if I did that now that would top $200 without blinking. Last month I charged $1400 on my credit card for what? Gas, restaurants, clothes and home depot. $1400! This city is too expensive for me, and yes, my household income tops the magic number.

      I wasn’t going to move eventually. I liked moving into and living in the city and I watched my block improve immensely those first 10 years going from Kelly and Barry to Williams and Fenty but then after the housing bubble burst it slowed down to the point where I’ve seen no progress since 2007. People who I know who love the city cite many of the same reasons I need to leave the city.

      • It sounds like you’re over your neighborhood, not the city. Why do you reflexively think to move to Bethesda and not a neighborhood in the city more like what you are looking for?

    • My apartment building’s parking garage is full of cars with license plates from all over the place, and these people have been living here for years, avoiding paying DC taxes on them. I suppose everyone thought they were getting away with it by parking in a private garage, but at some point MPD got in and wrote dozens of tickets. Unless you’re a part-time resident or student, I don’t think there’s a way out of registering your car here once you’re cited.

  • Pretty much agree with the emerging consensus — I wouldn’t mind a tax increase if the city first proved it wasn’t just throwing my money away. Until I see real progress on issues like crime (especially juvenile crime), public schools (why no magnet schools?), streamlining permiting for businesses, enforcement against shady developers, parking (half the parking tix in this city are bogus or whatever it is and it is a beaurocratic nightmare to contest them), public space management, and all the other well-chronicled mismanagement of city gov’t, I am loathe to give a penny more. If I really thought my money was working for me and the other city residents, I’d have no problem at all paying a bit more.

    • Banneker, Bell and Duke Ellington are all city wide

      • But they have limited lottery based enrollment.

        That’s like telling someone in poverty they can get rich because a lottery ticket is only $2.

        • Purely lottery or some academic excellence?

          • Depends on the school….there’s a bar, but past the bar it’s a lottery.

            What if you’re kid is smart enough to get in, but misses out on the lottery? Are your taxes worth it then?

        • Still a magnet, that’s how they work everywhere. I was responding to your question (why no magnet schools?)

  • I agree with the proposal of creating additional brackets, even though it would mean a modest increase in my personal tax burden. It doesn’t make sense to me that the highest bracket is 40K–people like me, who are fortunate to be paid well for their hard work, should be willing to pay a bit more in taxes.

    I share the worry of some other commenters about waste and fraud. But I believe that concern is more effectively directed at our elected officials on its own, not as a swap for saving the safety net.

    • @petworther – i assume you are educated and work hard which is why you make more money…doen’t ever take this for granted and assume your “fortunate.” You are NOT ortunate, you earned it by bettering yourself with an education and working hard at your job.

      as far as all those wjho agree with higher taxes on the upper income bracket, it is just not fair.

      Seriously other then garbage pick up what do i get in CH for it? I hear gun shots but no sirens? Why should i pay MORE so the lazy folks in DC can get MORE condoms/HIV testing/ Spec educ services/WIC/ or health care??? if they actually respected that they get for free and NOT expected it, that would be one thing. This stuff is no longer a safety net for these folks it is the foundation of their livilihood. I believe in safety nets but not permenently. (i.e. teach a man to fish..etc)

      I am tired of it. I pay high income taxes /10% for every beer or sandwich/ AND high property taxes? how many more times are they going to dip into my pockets?
      …and i used to be a liberal democrat, prior to becoming a homeowner in DC.

      • what does working hard have to do with earning money? I find that the two are almost universally inverse.

      • also these tax rates are extremely fair and if you don’t understand why a higher tax rate on a wealthier person isn’t fair aka progressive then you will be gullible to any teabagger who comes down the pike.

        Why do you think that paying the same percentage in taxes is fair? It’s no more “fair” than paying the same dollar amount in taxes. Think about it. The percentage rate being the same is a red herring that has you fooled- it’s a human construct with no basis in fairness.

        • Because regardless of the percentage, you’re still paying a larger amount of money into a fixed budget amount.

          Is it fair to ask me to pay for someone elses family to live in one of the most expensive places in the country? Why don’t I just put you up at the Four Seasons in Georgetown?

          I’m asking philosophically, because I do believe in providing social services. But DC is bad at social services. All the providers are scammers.

  • My taxes wouldn’t be affected by this, but if I were earning over $200,000 and this would increase my taxes by $200 a year, I definitely wouldn’t put my house on the market. I like my fellow city residents and would gladly defer two dinners a year at DC Coast if it would help prevent cuts in their food assistance benefits.

    As for Marcus Aurelius’ point “everyone should be willing to pay a little more in taxes” – I agree. I would note that sales taxes did go up .25% last year (to the same level as in Maryland) so everyone who has bought something here has paid a little more.

    As far as guarenteeing that services are improving, that sounds great but isn’t so easy to quantify. For example, DC public school math scores went up 2% in the last 2 years, does that count? DC had no significant change in poverty level (thru the end of 2008) despite the start of the recession (“D.C. Data On Poverty Grim but Unchanged”). So I think we should pay our fair share in reflection of the better services the city has been providing, especially if doing so would represent a minimal sacrifice in our current standard of living.

  • DC, like in most things is looking at the problem backwards. DC is already the most ridiculous welfare state on the East Coast. You have a city of 600K residents, but less than half pay any taxes at all, and you have 100 thousand upper middle/upper class residents of NW DC basically paying the freight for the entire city, especially wards where there is ~35% unemployments and the median income is less than the poverty level.

    No, instead of chasing out folks like myself who already pay $100K a year in combined DC income and property tax (with no kids and uses zero city services), you need to find a way to lure the hundreds of thousands of young professional, high earning yuppies who live in NOVA/Southern MD, into DC.

    I employ a dozen 20 somethings in my office, half of which already make 6 figures and the rest are close, and while they enjoy the social options of DC, they tell me they (and their like minded friends) have purposely chosen to live in a less taxed jurisdiction like Arlington, or Bethesda because it saves them thousands a year.

    I can guarantee you that if you created a new tax tier so that incomes of say…100K and less weren’t taxed at nearly 9%, and instead something closer to 5% which our suburban neighbors do, DC would get an influx of tens of thousands of new residents in the first couple of years.

    • “…uses zero city services.” Guess you’ve got that fancy private trash & recycling pick-up I’ve been hearing so much about. I assume you drive on private roads, stop at private stop signs, and walk on private sidewalks too.

      • When was the last time you say the city fixing the sidewalks, the stop signs or the roads (other than filling pot holes).

        The city doesn’t put squat into their infrastructure. All of that got paid for years ago.

        • We got new sidewalks on my block (in NE), this week. We got new gas lines on my block over the winter. From where I sit, I see a lot of recent investments in infrastructure, and I’m pretty happy about it.

        • Well, the sidewalks are new all over downtown and near the ballpark. The sidewalk in front of room and board is brand new– dont know if they paid for it, but its new. And the sign-age has been changed at 15th and L NW. All of 11th street NW from K to past P was redone, including the new stop light at 11th and O.

          That’s just what I saw this weekend…

      • Well done, useless snarky attitude in the place of constructive dialoge. And you wonder why no one listens to you or takes you seriously. The problem is the joke is you.

        Yes actually, I live in a \gasp\ private community in NW that has it’s own HOA. Our roads and sidewalks and utility services (water/gas/sewer) were all privatly installed and are privately maintained. Our garbage disposal is paid for privately and done by Bowie. We pay for private security. Should I go on or are you sufficiently embarrased enough to apologize.

        Yes, the fire dept is there if I need it and I walk and occasionaly drive on city streets, but my ~100K a year contribution to DC coffers is far and above what I and my neighbors get in return from it. It might be different if you could send your kids to DC schools, but thats even impossible after elementary school.

        You can go ahead and remove your shoe from your mouth but why don’t you just stay at the kids table until you decide you want to act like an adult

        • You need to get a clue, Bobby. Where is this magical enclave of wealthy, but apparently not-too-bright folks in NW that has its own water and gas wells, and treats its own sewage?

          • What clue exactly am I needing to get? Please, by all means educate me. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath.

            Hey bub…this thread didn’t start this way but your evident class jealousy and disdain for anyone who has accomplished more that you in life is pretty evident.

            And you are really showing your juvenile ignorance of such things.

            Water service and Sewage treatment is done by DCWASA, which I and everyone else who doesn’t live in their parents basement like you apparently do, pays fees for. DC Government does not run or fund WASA

            Gas is through WashGas, a private utility for which again, I pay fees.

            Please, by all means, continue to remove all doubt and continue to show your ignorance by continuing to post about things of which you evidently know nothing about.

            And lastly, Georgetown.

            Still waiting for that education you seem so intent to give. No? Imagine my surprise.

          • I am sorry a fact based correction of your ignorant and factless ego/jealousy driven responses hurt your feelings. Perhaps when you get out of college and get a job, you’ll understand how ridiculous you’ve been.

            And for the record, I was raised on a farm in the poorest of the poor towns in Applachia (PA). We raised angus which was our only source of income. My parents were poor and I was poor. I put myself through undergrad and then put myself through grad school at night, then spent the next 13 years paying off the massive debt.

            This conflicts with what I imagine your privlidged upbringing was. Parents provided you with all the opportunity you could grab onto, but you putzed your way through school and now you are inwardly pissed that you wasted your time and opportunity as you watch all your peers accomplishments exceed your own.

            Now you are a self appointed hipster yuppie that enjoys the fruits of others labor and think its ok to tax those “insufferable d-bags” out of an inward jealously of anyone who is better than you.

            Thats ok…my tax dollars will continue to pay your freight because despite your privlidged existance and opportunity, you are simply not man enough to do it yourself.

            And yeah, I voted for Obama and am about the biggest bleeding heart liberal you’ll find, I just can’t stand lazy d-bags like yourself who can, but refuse to pay your own freight.

          • Water, electricity, and gas are paid utilities run by for profit or quasi- for profit companies that ARE NOT CITY OWNED!! You are the idiot without a clue.

        • this is hilarious. you seem to be missing the larger point here, which is that you’re obviously an insufferable d-bag.

          • But aren’t most people who are in that income bracket? He probably can’t help it!

          • wow what a prick this guy is. I’m sure he got there by the boot straps out of ward 8 poverty too.

    • joker, what’s your sector? Law? PR? Arms deals? Just curious…

  • “Save our safety net” is a coalition of service providers that is worried about losing their DC grants. They’re not worried about the residents of DC. It’s a red herring to drum up support from sympathetic voters who like the idea of passively helping people. The people served by these organizations are already getting screwed over because of all the overhead they charge to DC. They layer more and more administration in their organization rather than helping more and more people. May of these organizations are headquartered in MD, so you’re effectively subsidizing salaries in suburban MD.

    The Wells, Mendolsons, and Grahams love this type of group because it gives them political cover for not having to cut programs that turn around and support them politically. This is a middle class tax increase pure and simple. There actually aren’t enough “Millionaires” in DC to pay for all the services proposed. Most of the wealth that you see in DC is diplomatic wealth. I’m pretty sure they’re not funding anything.

    I’ve never voted for a Republican…

  • Turbotax in 2007. I am not arguing services, but I’m arguing that the tax rate will not send people to “lower tax” Maryland or VA because it’s not realistic. I will look again at MD tax rates again. I know when I changed my tax locality around 1996 I saved a few hundred dollars. I can’t recall exactly what it was- $300?- but trust me, I told everyone about it.

    On paper the tax rates look similar (4.75 + 3.20?) but I am sure that if I ran the numbers again I would discover why there was a real difference and it likely has to do with the way that, sigh, dependents and other reductions to taxes are handled.

    I also have a friend who lives on a NICE plot of land in Maryland near Glen Echo and pays $1000 PER MONTH in real estate taxes- over $12,000 per year. But that reflects the amount of land they own which might be like 4 DC plots. I don’t know anyone who approaches $12k per year in DC real estate taxes.

    • Umm, 12K a year is pretty easy. I pay just under 20K a year for property tax. Your assesed value only needs to be ~1.5 mil to pay 12K a year in property tax and DC has a lot of homes exceeding the million dollar threshold.

      • well… I can’t argue with that personal experience… when houses in my style were selling for $1.1 million we never crossed the $700k assessment. It would be tough to get $950k for my house now, and our assessment is I think under $600k. My neighbors sold theirs for $700k and change with a non-functioning kitchen.

        You could sell your place for $4 million? My friend in Montgomery County paid $700k+ for his house he pays $12k on, but I don’t know his assessment. He said the issue is the value of the undeveloped land and the pool.

    • Think this is a response to an earlier post of mine above, neener — and for the record, I agree with you. I don’t think a 200k (or even a 400k) annual income household would move due to the proposed increase, particularly not bc of differences bt MD, VA, and DC income taxes, and particularly not considering differences in other tax rates. I do think, however, that the ethos will drive people away: the notion that, in DC, the solution to every problem is to tax the rich and not ever look into improved delivery, elimination of fraud, or holding the bureaucracy accountable for doing what it is charged to do.

  • Mal’s numbers tho incorrect aren’t so far off if you’re at $1M. The 800K at 9% overshadows the 160 at 8.5 and the 40 at 8 or whatever.

  • $40,000 as starting for highest tax bracket is a joke. but to increase tax on the wealthy is also stupid. DC already has some of the highest state tax levels and it is really easy to move out … just move a mile north, south, east or west.
    i am german and love social nets, but DC has to rethink its safety net and there have to be dramatic cuts. plus taxes for lower brackets might have to be increased, the number of people that don’t pay any district tax is huge, but they still get the same services. the solution can not always be the top.

  • At the end of the day, no one is going to move out of DC this year because of the taxes, but the question is more philosophical than that.

    Should the 240,000 working people in DC have to carry the remaining 360,000? If so, to what extent?

    Knowing that much of the money doesn’t make it to residents –poorly paid teachers, no classroom supplies, not enough money for food for actual kids, not enough money to house criminals, a homeless problem that doesn’t seem to get any better (for the homeless or the city), rampant alcoholism, would you want to throw more money at a solution that doesn’t work?

    Why not force the Council to start looking at what does and doesn’t work, instead of continuing to throw good money after bad?

  • Well done, useless snarky attitude in the place of constructive dialoge. And you wonder why no one listens to you or takes you seriously. The problem is the joke is you.

    Yes actually, I live in a \gasp\ private community in NW that has it’s own HOA. Our roads and sidewalks and utility services (water/gas/sewer) were all privatly installed and are privately maintained. Our garbage disposal is paid for privately and done by Bowie. We pay for private security. Should I go on or are you sufficiently embarrased enough to apologize.

    Yes, the fire dept is there if I need it and I walk and occasionaly drive on city streets, but my ~100K a year contribution to DC coffers is far and above what I and my neighbors get in return from it. It might be different if you could send your kids to DC schools, but thats even impossible after elementary school.

    You can go ahead and remove your shoe from your mouth but why don’t you just stay at the kids table until you decide you want to act like an adult.

    • re: private trash disposal…

      Don’t get me started on that. This is one of the things that truly incenses me about DC.

      I live in a 4 unit condo building that was formerly a single family rowhouse. We have to pay for private trash pickup, and it costs us $125/month. Now the basement unit hasn’t sold and the developer is sketchy and hasn’t bothered to pay his condo dues in quite some time.

      So all in all, I foresee that my private trash pickup will cost me at least $500/year.

      Yes, I know that that is not THAT much money, but it annoys me to no end that while I pay the same property tax as any other DC resident (what is it? 0.85% of the assessed value of your home), I don’t even get the courtesy of getting my trash picked up.

      Yeah, I know I’m supposed to get some sort of rebate, but I’ve never seen it, and I suspect that it won’t be nearly $500.

      I’m surprised no one has sued the city over this.

      Are there any greedy laywers out here? It seems like ground for a class action lawsuit.

      • Trash credit $96 per year…,a,1330,q,594268.asp

        If you get a city trash can and put it out back, won’t they take it? Maybe you can start a trash company and charge your condo fee $25 a month to wheel the trash out to the alley/curb and have the city take the trash…sounds like a win-win.

        • okay thanks.

          I don’t think htey would give us a trash can… so basically my neighbors and I pay $1500 a year for private trash pickup. We pay the same property tax as everyone else, but we get $288 back from the city.


          Gotta love this city.

          • Have you tried asking for a trash can – you seem awfully quick to write off the city considering it sounds like you haven’t even tried to make use of their services. I haven’t had any complaints with trash pick-up since I moved.
            It sounds like it’s your sketchy developer that needs sueing, not the city.

  • I think this is a terrible idea.

    Until DC provides more value to its residents–better schools and actually locking up criminals and repeat youth offenders–then raising taxes to maintain the status quo makes absolutely no sense.

    If I made as much money as those who are being targeted to bear the brunt of this tax increase, then I would seriously contemplate moving out of DC.

    Already I make significantly less than $100,000 a year and I feel like I am not getting any value for the THOUSANDS that I pay in DC taxes every year.

    The streets are dangerous, I get parking tickets and nickle and dimed all the time, and I know I have to move if I ever have kids.

    If the politicians made the case that the tax increase was to support institutions and amenities that would improve the quality of life for people living here then I would support this. But this increase is merely going towards paying for the status quo, and that is not something I can support.

    • See, I might be willing to agree with you. But when you say things like “and I know I have to move if I ever have kids” I reject everything you’ve said. That kind of attitude tells me that you are unwilling to visit a classroom and check for yourself what the environment is like.

      Though, maybe you got suckered into buying a craptastic home depot special condo in the nether-regions of the city and you’re bitter that your mortgage is underwater. But that’s because you aren’t the type of person to do any research or due diligence. You just liked the stainless steel fridge and the dedicated parking space.

      • that’s presumptive. Everyone knows that DC schools are shit. And just because one thinks schools are shit doesn’t mean one bought a “home depot special condo in the nether-regions of the city.”

        • They most certainly are not all shit, THAT is presumptive

          • this isn’t exactly a no brainer. DC schools are ranked dead LAST nationally by any and all metrics used to compare such things. You have 2, maybe 3 highschools in NW that aren’t atrocious, but even they don’t begin to measure up to your average Ffx County or Mont Co Highschool.

            Please, tell us which middle/highschools in DC are better than “borderline pathetic”

          • I would gladly send my kids to Wilson and Banneker. The whole point is to get them college ready, right? Those schools do more than adequate jobs and regularly send kids to the best universities. I plan to use the “private school savings” to pay for their college so that they can graduate with a bachelors and no debt.

            They may not be friends with the Huguely’s growing up, but I can live with that.

          • But LP, to send them to those schools you’d have to live in the neighborhoods or trust your luck to the lottery. So, can you afford to live in those neighborhoods? If so, great, but I cannot so would have to take my (thus far imaginary) kids out of DC. Unless we are to believe that all DC schools are magically turning around in short order? I’d say wait until after the upcoming elections to see if our small progress in the last few years continues…

          • Puh-lease. Look at the data that are publicly available for every school in DCPS. I established what I thought were very meager expectations for a school two years ago (reading and math scores, attendance rates, etc., with very conservative estimates), ran them through the WaPo online school research engine, and realized not one high school in DC met the criteria that I would have found indicative of a barely adequate school. Try it yourself: there’s not even one charter school in DC in which 50% of the students passed both the DC reading and math tests in 2008. (And just so you’re not confused, these are basic — not advanced — skills tests.)

            If college prep is your criteria, you’re not even in the ballpark in DC.

          • So you did it all online? Come on, visit a campus. I’m not going to relent my argument to anyone who hasn’t visited their local school or the school that would be their local school if they moved. There are kids– even white kids– who go to DCPS schools, like Wilson for k-12 and do just fine. It’s only getting better too.

            For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure anyone reading this can afford to live in Southwest, DC. And all of Southwest DC is zoned for Wilson High School (you know, the one way up in Friendship Heights that actually has a few white kids).

          • LP, are we talking about the same Wilson HS? I am talking about the one at 3950 Chesapeake St NW, next to Tenleytown Metro. I am quite certain many people can’t afford to live there, and thus out of area students are lotteried in. Correct?

  • I support more tax brackets. It is obscene that everyone earning over $40,000 is treated the same.

    • Exactly

      • Joseph, are you serious? Dude making $40K pays WAAAAAY less taxes than I do at 200K+. Obscene?

        • Additionally, the dude making $40K is eligible for way more tax breaks and incentives than I am. I can’t get over people who just want to reach into my back pocket. I think the system is pretty fair as it is.

  • I wouldn’t mind a tax increase for my higher-bracket self as long as it resulted in some of the new funds (not all) being put towards actual performance audits of DC agencies. I firmly believe the Harriette Walters of OTR fame (she of the $50 million ++ embezzlements) has a counterpart in most DC agencies, and that is where the real costs savings can be found.

  • Problem with raising taxes on the rich is that it doesnt have much of a harmful effect on a national level, but on a local level such as this it is definitely not a zero sum game. If you’re not competitive with entities just miles away, then you run the risk of killing the golden goose. We already see it with for-profit business. MD and DC are losing badly, but for the grace of fed gov offices, non profits, and a few other select sectors that choose to locate in these jurisdictions that are higher-cost than VA. Money does talk, and people will walk. As some mentioned earlier, it might actually make more sense, long-term, to LOWER rates to be commensurate with VA’s. Then there would be pretty much no reason for many Virginians to stay there.

  • ***I’m for abolition of the D.C. income tax as well as local elections.***

    After nearly four decades and two generations, Home Rule and all our elected official’s social engineering and heavy tax and spending of other people’s money here in the District of Columbia has well proven to be a huge mistake and a dismal failure for everyone; both those that work, produce and contribute and those that don’t -for two generations now.

    Let’s return to being just the Federal City we are, run apolitically by three Commissioners educated in public administration and appointed by the President of the United States, as it was done and worked very well from George Washington to Lyndon Johnson.

    No local or state income tax and no elected representatives. Who needs them ?

    Then see what a shining city on the shores of the Potomac our nation’s capital city we will become in a few short years naturally, without any elitist social engineering, government intervention, social experimentation, or the resulting misery, crime, and the corrupt life by government ration we live with now in this city.

    ***Just look to our D.C. flag and its three stars.***

    With this right field comment we may well reach 200 commentaries.

  • I’m not sure I would go along with the goverment by three Commissioners point. But I do believe that if any group of people should be members of a \Tea Party,\ it’s DC residents. If the federal government does not want to give us a vote, fine. Just give us back our federal taxes – except for social security and medicaid.
    No Representation? No Taxation!
    I can’t imagine how much money would flow into this city if it was free of federal taxes. If only I trusted the DC government to spend it wisely.

  • Won’t bother reading through all the responses, but I am not happy about paying higher taxes. The services I get are poorly performed, if at all, and there is tons of waste in the city. There are always people out there laying it on the “rich”. I did read one post where $250K with a family of 4 (I’m 3) is not much in DC. I’ve already been thinking about going to VA simply because of the higher quality schools for my kiddo. VA is CLEARLY cheaper. You may not realize, but federal taxes are also going up as the Bush tax cuts are going away. Over 50% of my income is already going to taxes and you people want more!?!?

    • BS, show me the numbers that you’re paying 50% + in taxes. BS. I have my tax numbers and I pay like 25% in income taxes. you made that up to seem shocking but it’s just BS.

      #1. If you want to be technical about it and include sales taxes in the calculation then you also need to determine the dollar amount of benefit you get from roads, clean air, police, etc.

  • Ah yes, “you people”

    • Yes, it’s a nice generic term that refers to the clowns who think it’s reasonable to raise taxes on anyone as long as its not them.

  • It’s so weird that this blog is populated by teabaggers, or at least people who are aligned with them on tax issues, while DC goes 90%+ to the Democrats every election year. I’m honestly kind of baffled, since even the white people I know in real life in the city are way leftist and find these anti-progressive tax views to be bizarre and even offensive. Seems like the readership here is a concentration of a weirdly self-selected minority of right wingers. Weird stuff.

    In any case, I’m glad these views aren’t reflected at the polls.

    • Because among young people, to claim you’re a liberal, a Democrat, and that you voted for Obama is the hip thing to do, even though deep inside you’re really quite conservative but don’t realize it yet. For many people, this false liberalism is something they’ll grow out of, and most of them will be long gone from DC by the time that happens.

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