The article provided below is from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute's May 13th, 2010 blog by Elissa Silverman. Legal Aid encourages you to read this and to reach out to DC Council regarding these important budget concerns.
Today is the day! Council members need to hear from YOU and YOUR ORGANIZATION that YOU SUPPORT WAYS TO ADD REVENUE to next year’s budget to preserve critical investments in our city and its future. Please send that message by calling and emailing the DC Council today.
WHY DO WE NEED TO ADD REVENUE?
As a result of the Great Recession, DC’s expected revenues have fallen by more than $1 billion. The proposed budget from Mayor Fenty makes painful reductions to child care, job training and help for our most vulnerable residents, as well as takes big hits to environmental programs, public safety, and public works.
A cuts-only approach will not move us toward recovery. We need a balanced approach that includes revenues to invest in our city and get us back to work and prosperity.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO CALL ON THURSDAY?
Some council members — but not all — have expressed support for parts of a revenue package supported by the Fair Budget Coalition. We need you to contact the DC Council to ensure we have enough support for a budget passed with progressive revenue increases. These include proposals to:
- increase the income tax for the wealthiest. Right now,DC residents making $40,000 a year and those who make $1 million pay the same income tax rate. Increasing the rate on those making more than $200,000 a year would raise $40 million and impact less than 5 percent of households.
- end DC’s tax exemption for interest paid on out-of-state bonds. Only DC and Indiana provide income tax breaks for residents that invest in other states’ infrastructure. Eliminating this exemption would raise $17 million and give District residents an incentive to invest in DC’s roads and bridges.
- modernize the sales tax to include more services. DC’s sales tax was created at a time when people spent more on goods than services. Today it’s the other way around. Adding more services to DC’s general sales tax — like pet grooming, health club memberships, and theater tickets — would raise more than $14 million.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. MOST IMPORTANT: Call or email DC Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (202-724-8032, firstname.lastname@example.org) and At-Large DC Council member Kwame Brown (202-724- 8174, email@example.com) Chairman Gray and Councilmember Brown have not announced their positions on these important revenue increases. Tell them you support adding revenue, and you want them to as well! See sample message below.
2. Send a similar email to the full councilat firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Follow up with a phone call to your Ward Councilmember(If you don’t have time to call, your emails/letters will still have an impact!).
Sample Phone Message/Email
Dear Council member:
I want the DC Council to invest in our city by adding revenue to the Fiscal Year 2011 budget to avoid deep cuts to programs that help our residents and city recover from the recession. I am concerned about budget cuts that raise taxes on low-income working families, cut funding for health care providers, make work harder to find by cutting child care and workforce development programs, AND _____. [PLEASE INSERT CUTS YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH AS WELL]
I support sensible proposals that will make our tax system stronger and more fair while at the same time allow us to avoid budget cuts that hurt our neighbors and our community. I urge you to: increase the income for the wealthiest,end DC’s tax exemption for interest paid on out-of-state bonds, and modernize the sales tax to include more services . (you can use supporting facts from above.)