I thought I had written my last Georgetowner article about the 2012 budget last month.
Unfortunately, the Council was taken by surprise by the pocket veto from Mayor Gray and will have to revisit some of the problems that we had just worked hard to solve. Of particular note was the proposal to retroactively tax interest earned on out-of-state municipal bonds all the way back to Jan. 1, 2011, which I have been advocating strongly against. You may recall that the Council passed an amendment on July 12 to push the implementation of this new tax proposal on municipal bonds back to cover only earnings from Jan. 1, 2012 and beyond, giving everyone a little more time to make responsible changes in their investment portfolios and tax payment schedules if needed. Now that the Mayor’s veto has undone the Council’s solution, I will be working again with my colleagues to come up with creative new ways to postpone and then repeal this tax, which disproportionately impacts retirees. It is absolutely irresponsible for Mayor Gray and the Council not to grandfather in existing bondholders, as has been done in every other state without exception. Three of your at-large Councilmembers – Phil Mendelson, Michael Brown and Vincent Orange – do not support grandfathering unless the income tax is increased. This is another bad idea which will harm our city.
I also wanted to briefly address the iGaming proposal that is currently under consideration by the District’s Lottery Board. In case you are not familiar with the concept of iGaming, the idea is to offer internet games such as Texas Hold ‘em Poker on computers in yet to be determined locations within the District. In response to concerns from community members at a Finance & Revenue Committee hearing I chaired, I asked the Lottery to schedule a number of community meetings to receive input on iGaming before moving forward with enabling these games in any neighborhoods. I subsequently requested that the Lottery move to further accommodate community members by postponing meetings originally scheduled for August to more convenient times in mid-September and October, and am pleased that they have done so. This change in the schedule will allow more residents to return from out of town summer trips and be engaged in the community meeting process.
Finally, Advisory Neighborhood Commission redistricting is well underway. The neighborhood-based subgroups of the Ward 2 Redistricting Task Force have been checking in with my office regularly, and I look forward to seeing their final recommendations in the near future. Please feel free to contact Ruth Werner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin Stogner at email@example.com, both in my office, to be added to the redistricting distribution list, or to answer any specific questions you have.