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  • Yoga Tax Proposal is Back, Via Marion Barry
  • Read My Lips: No New Taxes in Gray’s Proposal
  • Compare and Contrast Council Chief of Staff Salaries
  • Good morning sweet readers! On LL’s iPhone, the Cowboys are a perfect 12-0 so far this season. So there. News time:

    Healthy School=Mice Infestation: Today the D.C. Council passes a budget to close a $188 million gap. Early this morning, Almost Mayor Vince Gray‘s budget team sent the rest of council his proposed budget, which includes no new tax increases. For “non-essential” city employees, Gray wants a four-day furlough, after previously saying that he doesn’t think furloughs are worth a damn. That’ll save $19 million, and allow Gray to restore some funding for some other programs, like CM Mary Cheh‘s healthy school lunches. But the big news is new WTU boss Nathan Saunders assertion in the Times that the healthy lunch program is somehow leading to mice infestations at schools. Do mice prefer organic wholesome food over processed pizza? Moving on, it looks like Gray’s proposed budget hews closely to one proposed by Still Mayor Adrian Fenty, especially when it comes to cuts to social service programs. See DCist’s rundown.

    AFTER THE JUMP: More Budget News (Weee!); Rhee’s $1 billion anti-union; New Beginnings Overcrowded …

    What to Watch For: Today’s council hearing will likely include proposed amendments by several councilmembers looking to increase a variety of taxes, none of which are expected to pass. Higher taxes may be coming round the corner during the next budget deliberations, but Gray doesn’t want to pass them now. CM’s Tommy Wells, Michael Brown and Jim Graham all have their hearts set on increasing taxes now for those who make good money, reports the Post. Brown’s looking at those who make $200k a year or more. Wells is looking at cuts for anyone making more than $75k a year. “I’m trying to change the conversation away from the millionaires tax so everyone gives up something,” he tells the Post. Over at Greater Greater Washington, Wells published his ode to tax increases: “My wife and I have not been asked to pay one more dime to help balance the District’s budget—not now, and not even in the last four years.” Fine, Tommy Wells, LL officially asks you and your wife to write as big a check as you can afford to the District of Columbia. Be sure and put “budget gap closing” on the memo line. Now you have been asked.

    CM Marion Barry has resurrected the ill-named Yoga tax, which would expand the city’s sales tax to a number of services, including pet grooming and health clubs. Barry’s looking to restore funding for welfare funding. More budget news: Stage is set over fight for special ed funding. Advocates don’t like Wells’ homeless bill. So much for transparency.

    Michelle Rhee’s Alaska: Former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee was back in the spotlight in a big way yesterday (Oprah, Newsweek, Politico, LL Daily), announcing that she’s going to spend $1 billion of her uber-rich patrons’ money to counter the influence of teachers’ unions. Rhee invites those who care about education to sign her pledge, unless you don’t have the “guts.” Rhee makes clear in her Newsweek piece that she’s itching for a good ol’ brawl: “Right now, what we need to do is fight. We can be respectful about it. But this is the time to stand up and say what you believe, not sweep the issues under the rug so that we can feel good about getting along. There’s nothing more worthwhile than fighting for children. And I’m not done fighting.” Rhee’s new group, Students First, plans on backing political candidates who share her views on education reform.  The New Republic says Rhee will be setting up shop in Sacramento, where her fiance, the classy former Phoenix Sun Kevin Johnson, is mayor. “Her office for the time being, I’m told, will be at conservative-leaning Mercury, a p.r. firm where, until last summer, Steve Schmidt, formerly of John McCain’s presidential campaign, was a partner.” Post editorial writer Jo-Ann Armao says Rhee’s decision is unsurprising. Salon pokes fun.

    Old Beginnings: The District’s teen prison New Beginnings is overcrowded, reports the Post. “Built to house up to 60 people, New Beginnings has been holding as many as 80 youths in recent days, taxing resources and patience at the detention center and alarming reform advocates who see the facility’s focus on rehabilitation slipping away.” Remember last year when New Beginnings opened to much fanfare, then the day after there was an escape?

    Adams Morgan Hotel brought back to life. LL doesn’t want to move.

    Post editorial board to lame duck Congress: Get off your fat asses and give D.C. budget autonomy.

    Attorney General Peter Nickles wants to wrap up Team Thomas investigation before he leaves office. Team Thomas probably wants the opposite to happen.

    Tax on food trucks in the works.

    Wal-Mart resistance begins in Brightwood.

    Pepco: Our bad.

    School data: At your fingers.

    Senate majority leaders would probably vote for Jacque Patterson, if they cared.

    New MPD policy: no cheating on tests. No word on Diane Groomes’ fate.

    Wilbon says goodbye.

    Jim Graham‘s role in making Metro decisions, too big?

    Council’s budget jamboree scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.