This morning’s budget gap hearing (live on Channel 13, if you want to watch on TV, or watch online) has seen testimony from many different groups protesting proposed cuts to their budgets, and some heated moments from the council. As Lydia DePillis of the City Paper notes, the sides are shaping up as follows: Michael A. Brown, Jim Graham, Tommy Wells and Harry Thomas vs. Jack Evans and David Catania. At issue once again appears to be the “Millionaire’s tax” designed to add progressive tax brackets above the District’s current $40,000 upper tax bracket, and to tax those brackets aggressively. This morning’s hearing has seen heated moments as groups like Jews United for Justice and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute have advocated for a 1% increase on those households who make more than $200,000 year.
Councilmember David Catania, returning to his Republican roots, is against tax increases for just some of those taxpayers in the District, and fought significantly against the testimony of JUFJ and DCFPI and questioned specifically their finance numbers, suggesting that their numbers were flawed and wouldn’t produce the $75M that they claimed. That got Councilmember Thomas’ goat, and he was quick to lash out without specifically naming Catania, he indicated a gentleman’s agreement had been previously struck concerning not questioning the witnesses and to let them speak. Councilmember Thomas was just short of shouting at Catania with regard to perceived disrespect for the JUFJ and DCFPI, and I would say that Mr. Catania was fairly brusque and prosecutorial with his questioning of those groups’ revenue numbers.
The hearing will continue probably well into the evening, so tune in and see what the city’s looking at cutting.