Mayor Vince Gray’s budget proposal takes aim at D.C.’s deficit with a combination of service cuts and new taxes and fees. To critics, the cuts (which fall heavily in the social-service sector) and the revenue measures (many of which amount to regressive taxes) will mainly hit the District’s dwindling working class. Who ought to pay instead? To judge from last week’s reaction to the Census news, plenty of local pols would be thrilled to put the squeeze to the burgeoning crop of comparatively comfortable newcomers. What would a gentrification tax look like? Washington City Paper imagines some new ideas:
New charge: Subaru excise tax
Instead of a set fee for car registration, fees will be on a sliding scale developed with automotive-aesthetics consultants. Most expensive: Late-model Subaru Foresters. Least expensive: City-leased Lincoln Navigators.
• New charge: Myopic little twit fee
New fees to be levied on all instances of people using social media to complain about writing by Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy.
• New charge: Snowball permit
Participants in snowball fights with more than six competitors must obtain a permit from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Permits for fights advertised via social media are an extra $35.
• New charge: Bike tolls
Toll gates to be installed on dedicated city bike lanes. Frequent bikers will be able to buy EZ-Pass transponders for rapid payment (for an additional fee, EZ-Pass handlebar clamps are also available). Tolls doubled for bicyclists wearing spandex bike shorts.
• New charge: By-the-plate restaurant tax
Rather than calculating restaurant taxes by traditional method, new formula will charge based on number of plates used—handing tapas fans a larger chunk of the bill for city services.
• New charge: Food-line surcharge
50 percent tax hike on any foods (like cupcakes) purchased at establishments where the line snakes out the door, or at food trucks with more than 11 people waiting at a time.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery