Marion Barry, citing his role as chairman of the D.C. City Council's finance and revenue committee, asked President Carter yesterday to veto the city's congressionally enacted budget because, he said, it shortchanges local taxpayers.
In a seven-page letter, Barry said the congressional decision to cut the federal payment $82 million below the president's request "is punitive for no good reason, ruinous to our fiscal year 1979 budget and harmful to our local economy . . . (and) is also a dangerous precedent."
Barry also asked Council Chairman Sterling Tucker, a rival in the mayoral campaign, to convene a special seassion of the council to consider a resolution asking for a presidential veto. Tucker could not be reached for comment.
The federal payment granted for fiscal 1978 was $276 million. Under current law, the payment connot exceed $300 million. Carter asked Congress earlier this year to raise it to $317 million. Instead, in approving the city's $1.3-billion budget, Congress approved a federal payment of $235 million.
The payment represents the U.S. government's share of the cost of running the D.C. government. It is designed to make up for tax-exempt property and other costs to the city because of the federal presence.
In his letter, Barry asserted these costs add up to $529 million, a figure that includes $259 million the city cannot collect in income taxes from suburbanites who work in the city. The D.C. home rule charter prohibits commuter taxes.
"Your support of the ($317 million) federal payment level is particularly crucial," Barry wrote, "in light of your continuing stance against a non-resident income tax . . .
"Unfortunately," Barry asserted, "Congress views the federal payment as a 'budget-balancing tool,' and not as a legitimate debt . . .
"While we have been granted home rule," he said, "the necessary financial support is being cut out from under us."
Barry said the congressional slash resulted from a city forecast of increased tax revenues. "For each dollar of higher-than-anticipated revenues, Congress lowered the federal payment $1," he declared. "Thus we have been penalized for having a healthier economy . . ."
Barry asked the president to accompany a veto with a strongly worded message to Congress.