DC Statehood Greens challenge Mayor Gray: “Don’t balance the budget on the backs of DC’s working people and unemployed!”

When: Monday, March 28, 6 pm
Where: In front of Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street NE
Theme: Let’s Make ‘One City’ a Reality with a Just DC Budget and Tax Plan

WASHINGTON, DC — DC Statehood Green Party activists will challenge
Mayor Vincent Gray on the District’s budget priorities at a press
conference immediately preceding the Mayor’s ‘State of the District’
address on Monday, March 28.

The press conference will take place outside of Eastern High School,
1700 East Capitol Street NE, beginning at 6 pm. The Mayor’s speech
begins inside the school at 6:45 pm.

“We will call on Mayor Gray not to balance the budget on the backs of
DC’s working people and unemployed. We can make ‘One City’ a reality,
if the Mayor and Council enact a ‘Just DC Budget and Tax’ plan,” said
Alan Page, DC Statehood Green candidate for At-Large City Council in
the April 26 special election (http://alanpagedc.blogspot.com


Statehood Greens will offer a progressive alternative to DC’s present
regressive income tax. The progressive plan would generate $250
million in additional revenue that should go into essential social
services cut in recent years. This and other recommendations to
balance the budget and restore essential funding in our budget are
summarized below.

“Our public officials continue to side with the wealthy, while DC
residents are enduring an economic depression, with 30% unemployment
in Ward 8. More budget cuts in low income programs, totaling $30
million, including child care, affordable housing, and TANF were
passed for FY 2011. Even more cuts may be in store if the Mayor and
Council fail to find new revenue. In FY 2010, affordable housing was
cut by one-third and child care by one fifth since FY 2008, according
to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. Unfortunately, the Council voted 8
to 5 to defeat bills for modestly higher taxes on the wealthy that
would have prevented most of these cuts,” said Jane Zara, DC Statehood
Green and lawyer who has fought the closing of local shelters.

Eight Council members voted no to tax hikes on the rich (Mayor-Elect
Gray, David Catania, Mary Cheh, Kwame Brown, Jack Evans, Phil
Mendelson, Muriel Bowser, Yvette Alexander), five voted yes (Jim
Graham, Harry Thomas Jr., Michael Brown, Tommy Wells, Marion Barry).
See David Schwartzman’s testimony on the Executive’s FY2011 Budget
Gap-Closing Plan:

“Where is the money?” Recommendations for a ‘Just DC Budget and Tax’ Plan

(1) Raise the income tax rate on DC’s top 5% income bracket,
especially DC millionaires, whose income is now booming, and provide
tax relief for low- and middle-income families.

According to this proposal, the effective increase for the top 5%
income bracket would be about 1.7% of family income, or less than 2
cents on the dollar, while generating more than $250 million in
additional revenue. Statehood Greens say that this additional revenue
should be targeted directly to currently underfunded programs for
low-income DC residents. See

(2) Curb corporate welfare, unjustified tax exemptions and abatements
in the DC budget. $350 million or more per year is potentially lost
from this source; about $150 million/year is paid in rent to the
corporate sector for municipal use when publicly owned property could
be used for the same purposes in many cases. $25 million would come
from ending DC’s tax exemption for interest paid on out-of-state bonds

(3) Get Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) from the World Bank, IMF,
and Fannie Mae. The Mayor and Council should mount an aggressive
public campaign to get hundreds of millions of dollars waiting to be
collected from this source.

(4) Tax lobbyists and their law firms. Example: Patton Boggs (Jack
Evan’s source of his second salary), with $332 million gross receipts
in 2009.

(5) Establish a DC Municipal Bank, which could leverage billions of
dollars in DC taxes and fees for local green economic development,
living wage jobs, and affordable housing, instead of putting our money
into Wall Street banks. See


Scheduled speakers for the press conference

• Alan Page: DC Statehood Green candidate for At-Large City Council in
the April 26 special election (http://alanpagedc.blogspot.com

). Mr.
Page is an attorney and an artist who has provided legal advice to
special needs students deprived of their rights by DC Public Schools.
He has led efforts to improve the lives of young people in DC, from
serving as a songwriting instructor to youth from all over the city
with the Midnight Forum organization to teaching a course on “Learning
Literature Through Hip-Hop” with the Helping Inner City Kids Succeed
program in Ward 7.

• David Schwartzman: 2010 DC Statehood Green candidate for the Council
At-Large seat (http://www.davidschwartzman.com

) and the party’s Tax &
Budget Coordinator.

• Jane Zara: activist, scientist, lawyer, and a member of Coordinating
Board of the Washington Peace Center, Empower DC, DC Metro Science for
the People, and the DC Statehood Green Party. She has litigated
various lawsuits on behalf of the homeless in DC, opposing the closing
of local shelters, and led science literacy campaigns involving local


DC Statehood Green Party http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org

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