The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute does great work on a lot of very important issues, but tax policy will never be the sexiest subject. To dramatize the City Council’s latest proposed giveaway—to Union Station’s commercial tenants—they’ve put together an awesomely ominous attack ad (and it’s only Episode 1!).
To add my own two cents: The Union Station Revelopment Corporation can reasonably argue that the city should share the burden for improvements like the connection to an incoming streetcar line and a new bus terminal. But letting the New York developer that leases all the commercial space in the building off the hook for property taxes in perpetuity seems like a rather blunt instrument to remedy that situation. And I’m surprised that Councilmember Jack Evans, with all his talk about the District’s dire fiscal straights, would be the one proposing that kind of massive break.
UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Council chairman Vince Gray—perhaps fearing the appearance doing favors for lobbyist David Wilmot?—pulled the tax abatement from tomorrow’s agenda. It’s like streetcars 2.0!