Mayor Gray Vetoes Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

From Mayor Gray’s office:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray today vetoed the “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014” and returned the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request Act of 2014 to the Council with three line-item vetoes. Mayor Gray cited significant problems in a number of areas of the Council’s budget, and asked the Council to delay their summer recess for 30 days to work with the Executive Branch on a compromise budget that best serves the interests of District residents.

I cannot, in good conscience, sign a budget that hurts seniors, taxes wellness, dramatically delays and drives up the cost of the D.C. Streetcar system, and ties the hands of future Mayors to respond to fiscal problems,” said Mayor Gray. “I am asking Chairman Mendelson and the other members of the Council to work with me so we can craft a reasonable compromise that resolves these problems and better serves the 647,000 residents of our city.”

Mayor Gray continued: “Specifically, this budget not only guts the tax cuts we promised our seniors, but also disproportionately shifts the tax burden to them in other ways. And this budget would also have taxed wellness and removed incentives for District employees to live in our city. Futhermore, this budget would delay until 2045 and increase the cost by 50 percent of our most important public-transit initiative in years: The D.C. Streetcar program. Finally, it unnecessarily ties the hands of future Mayors and limits their ability to respond in a fiscally responsible way to unforeseen problems and crises.”

Mayor Gray concluded: “For these reasons, I vetoed the budget. If the veto is sustained, I look forward to working with the Council on a stronger compromise budget. However, regardless of what the Council chooses to do, I cannot in good conscience support this budget as submitted. Although I will not be in office when the majority of this budget is implemented, I cannot turn a blind eye to the impact that it will have on the next administration and District residents.”

A copy of the Mayor’s letter to the Chairman explaining his reasons for the veto is attached.

Mayor Gray’s FY 2015 Budget Veto Letter (PDF)

16 Comment

  • Accountering

    So many points here. Fan of the tax cuts. Big fan of the getting rid of the senior citizen exemption (that was insane – let them defer it and lien the house, but no reason every house shouldn’t be paying SOMETHING) and HATE that we are no longer investing in the streetcar. Also, didn’t like the gym tax even one bit. I would say a good veto.

    • I’m puzzled by this “fitness tax” brouhaha. The purpose of the tax is to broaden the base and allow for an overall decrease in your income tax rate that will more than offset any tax on your gym membership.
      Honestly, has anyone here ever met someone who said, “Welp, I *was* going to buy a $50-per-month gym membership, but now that they’ve added an extra $2.88? NEVERMIND.”

      • + 1^gazillion

      • Taxing the sale of goods but not the sale of services distorts the market. Better to tax both.

      • There are some people that have much more expensive fitness related memberships that take classes, or use more than one form of fitness. Taxing wellness is utter stupidity.

      • Anyone who believes that people won’t quit because of a minimal increase, has never worked at, or in, the fitness industry.

  • I pretty much agree with his veto reasoning … and it’s scary that a councilmember who helped write this will be mayor next year…

  • It’s a have your cake and eat it too scenario, which is my big problem with it. He wants to cut taxes, but keep the spending. Something has to give, and he seems to not accept that there are trade offs to government. Either we cut taxes OR pay for things like the street car and an overly-narrow tax base.

    • Who’s he? Gray proposed a balanced budget, which didn’t cut taxes. Mendelson pulled a bunch of spending that Gray wanted in favor of tax cuts. Both the budgets are balanced.

  • Accountering

    Mendelsohn screwed the pooch on this one big time. The tax reform bill had both tax cuts, and tax increases. He just pulled the tax cuts, and then cut the rest from the streetcar. How do we get rid of this guy?

    • jim_ed

      +1. Mendelsohn is an absolute joke. He’s not a progressive in nearly any sense. I will continue to vote for anybody against him (non Calvin Gurley division).

  • Delay streetcar until 2045? Was that a typo?

    • No, that’s how long Gray claims it will take to build the core 22-mile system now. He says the funding that was removed would have gotten it done in 10 years.
      “If the Council’s cuts to the streetcar system stand, our independent consultants have concluded that the 22-mile system will not be built out for 31 years (or 2045). This is primarily because the District will be unable to attract a firm with the necessary experience and expertise to take on building the project in a piecemeal fashion and on such an extended timeframe.”

  • Didn’t this thing pass the council 12-1? Won’t they just override this. I imagine there is little incentive to work with a lame duck.

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