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May 22, 1996

DC Taxes #2

Dear Neighbors:

The tax list now contains 38 people. Our next objective is sort out what we want to accomplish with this list. Some of today's postings start helping us define the issue and draw the debate. More thoughts can help.

BTW: I did learn that Rep. Tom Davis will hold a hearing on the Norton tax proposal, the so-called progressive flat tax. Gingrich is apparently urging him to hold the hearing even though he has not sponsored the bill nor supports it. But city tax relief, I'm confident, is going to become a cutting issue within the next few years. Fiscal policy, tax expenditures, and tax policy tend to favor the suburbs and very burbs. That's my gut talking, not a real study. But Norton's hit on something very important with her bill. It won't pass this year (and I've got serious reservations about why it should never pass) but the notion of tax equity between urban and non-urban jurisdictions is a powerful, evolving issue. Norton deserves credit for taking leadership.


Jeffrey Itell


I think it is useful to provide some context for the discussion of taxes and the D.C. budget. We hear so often that there is not enough money for this, or not enough money for that. The "hidden" fact is that there is plenty of money!

In round numbers the D.C. budget is about $5,000,000,000 a year (yes count the zeros) and we have a population of about 550,000. That means there is about $9,000/year per resident.

Now I understand that some residents need more services, while others of us can get along with less. I also know about the unfunded pension liability, and I understand that D.C. provides some normally state supported functions. Nevertheless, $9,000/year per resident is plenty of money.

I have visited Council member Patterson, and I have visited the Council budget office, and it appears that neither knows where the money goes. Perhaps that is a starting point for a discussion of D.C. taxes.

Larry Seftor


My major interest is in figuring out the best strategy to achieve our goal of tax relief. I am sure that with all of these politically savvy people here in DC, someone must have some good ideas for how to proceed, and I look forward to hearing them.

Marsha Cohan


General direction of discussion. Start with the premise that DC residents are overtaxed and find *realistic* solutions. Anecdotes are interesting. Samples of gov't waste are always revealing.

Not sure I'd CC the IRS or DCRA. IRS is known to be punitive to those who aren't eager to fork over their hard-earned money.

Seen some years ago when tax simplification was the rage:

New EZ tax form

How much did you earn?________

Send it in.___________________

Suzanne Gallagher


I know someone who refused to pay the telephone tax during the Vietnam conflict because it had been passed specifically to fund that "war." The Feds avoiding taking such tax refusers to court (for the most part) but got a court order to garnishee the (almost trivial) amounts from the person's bank account at Riggs.

E. James Lieberman, M.D.


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Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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