The D.C. Council didn’t show much deference for lame duck Mayor Vince Gray in its latest budget, but Gray isn’t giving up easily. In a letter today to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Gray says that he’ll veto one of Mendelson’s budget bills and use a line-item veto to restore streetcar funding in another.
In a letter to Mendelson, embedded at the bottom of this post, Gray lays out his other beefs with the budget, including the “yoga tax” on gym memberships and other services, changes to a senior citizen property tax break, and certain tax cuts. Explaining his veto, Gray asks the Council to hold off on its annual summer recess, set to start next week, for as many as 30 days so they can “work together to craft a stronger compromise budget.”
Wilson Building staffers might not need that long, though. On Wednesday, Mendelson introduced legislation aimed at the possibility of a veto override at this Monday’s final prerecess legislative meeting. But even as Mendelson claimed in his notice about the legislation that he had “every reason to believe” Gray would approve the budget, Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro told LL that Gray was keeping all of his options on the table.
Mendelson spokeswoman Karen Sibert says that Gray’s veto will likely provoke the override votes on Monday. Unless Gray has been doing some extra-hard politicking, it’s hard to see the vote going in his favor. Of the Council’s 13 members, only Ward 6’s Tommy Wells voted against Mendelson’s budget, meaning that Gray would need to peel away several more members before getting the budget below the nine-vote override threshold.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery