A Lame Duck Override

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The District of Columbia City Council, heading toward its two-month summer break, showed Mayor Vincent Gray just how lame a duck can be by overriding his veto of the budget spending bill.

The veto got the support of only one council member—five would have been needed. That was Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells, who was concerned about the lack of funds for street car transportation, a pet project for Mayor Gray.

Wells said the city was facing a critical public transportation problem which street cars would have helped alleviate.

The $12.6-billion budget included large tax cuts—but also the institution of sales taxes on yoga studios and gyms. The tax cuts—meant in part to deal with the increasing unaffordability of housing throughout the city—would affect most people making up to $1 million a year.

The 12-1 vote was an overwhelming, but not unexpected, rebuke of the mayor. The tax cuts are based on the optimistic premise that the city’s economy would continue to thrive even in the midst of a nation-wide slow-growth situation.

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