Term: 4 Years
QUESTION: Would you support an increase in any city taxes to deal with the city's mounting deficit? If so, list them.
Vote for two:
Marion Barry Jr. (Independent)
Ray Browne (Independent)
R. Rochelle Burns (Independent)
Linda Cropp (Democrat)
Jim Harvey (Independent)
Clarene Martin (Independent)
ilda Mason (D.C. Statehood)
W. Cardell Shelton (Republican)
Marion Barry Jr. (I)
3607 Suitland Rd. SE
D.C. mayor, 1979-present; two-term member, D.C. Council, 1974-78, chairman, Committee on Finance and Revenue; elected member and president, D.C. Board of Education, 1971-74; co-founder, Youth Pride, a job training program for youth; director, Washington office of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 1965, and first national chairman of SNCC; master's degree, Fisk University; doctoral studies, University of Tennessee.
The city's deficit cannot be discussed in terms of local taxes only. The city's financial makeup has three components: local taxes, the federal payment and a reciprocal tax on commuters. We must demand a formula-based federal payment in lieu of taxes and an immediate increase from $430 million to $665 million; and we must gain the right to set a reciprocal tax, like many jurisdictions in the nation have. With these measures, we could end our deficit without furthering the burden on local taxpayers. I believe we are fast reaching the amount of taxes D.C. residents should pay, so I do not advocate immediate increases in personal income or residential property taxes. However, I would support a sales tax on certain professionals, most of whom are non-D.C. residents, such as legal, accounting, auditing, engineering, surveying and architectural professionals. I would also support a public utilities tax, with an exemption of the sales tax for residential customers.
Ray Browne (I)
1405 30th St. NW
Insurance partner, the Browne Co.; ANC commissioner for Georgetown, 1988-present; mediator, D.C. Superior Court; secretary, Neighborhood Planning Council 6; member, Mayor's Advisory Commission and D.C. Drug Strategy Team; vice chairman, Hurt Home Advisory Board; executive committee member, Ward 3 Democrats; president, D.C. Chartered Life Underwriters; track coach, Holy Trinity Elementary School; attended D.C. and Prince William public schools and University of Maryland; married with two children.
My review of the city's tax structure leads me to believe that there is very little room for new taxes or increased tax rates. Certainly, our citizens cannot abide any increase in the income tax rate or property taxes. The most effective way to increase revenue through taxation is to work on preserving and enlarging the base of revenue that is taxed. A positive approach to economic enhancement is good tax strategy. Additional taxes are simply not going to be sufficient to meet our revenue needs over the next few years. We are experiencing an economic downturn along with the rest of the country, which adversely affects the tax base. To offset these problems we must have a significant increase in the federal payment. It is long overdue and is the fastest, most effective way to increase revenue.
R. Rochelle Burns (I)
2201 L St. NW
Lawyer, auditor, U.S. General Accounting Office; member, D.C. Bar; JD, Catholic University; MPA, Columbia University; BA, Columbia University; member, board of directors, Senior Citizens Counseling and Delivery Services; member, Metropolitan Trial Lawyers Association; member, St. Stephen Martyr Parish Council, 1989-90.
Because the working citizens of the District of Columbia are among the highest taxed people in the Metropolitan area, a tax increase would be among the lowest of the alternatives I would be pursuing as an at-large council member. I believe there are many economy and efficiency measures to be implemented without adversely affecting necessary services. I would not support a tax increase unless and until the District government has explored all of the findings that have been pointed out to it by the internal and external audits and it has taken corrective actions to eliminate the identified areas of fraud, waste and abuse. In addition, I would: 1) seek the U.S. General Accounting Office's assistance in identifying areas for improvements; 2) have an accounting firm do a management evaluation; 3) talk to the heads of each department and division where they have not implemented cost cutting measures previously identified. If after all of the above, we still need to raise taxes to balance the budget without affecting services, I would favor some modest increase, but only as a last resort.
Linda Cropp (D)
4001 18th St. NW
Ward 4 representative, D.C. Board of Education, for three terms, served as president for two years, vice president for three years; BA and MA, Howard University; teacher and counselor, D.C. Public Schools, 1970-78; board member, Travelers Aid Society and Junior Achievement; delegate, Democratic Presidential Convention, 1984; member, Ward 4 Democrats, Crestwood Civic Association, NAACP, Urban League, Women's Advisory Board of Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capitol and Mayor's Commission on Food and Nutrition.
A: At this time, given the dearth of information available regarding the District's situation, I would not advocate an increase in any city taxes. The District's budget problems have been essentially caused by the ongoing practice of adding new programs to the base, without eliminating ineffective and outdated programs. The inability of the current city management to implement either a zero-based or program budgeting approach has led to the "bloated budget" dilemma that now faces us. I would advocate that a thorough program evaluation take place in every large agency of the D.C. government, for the purpose of assessing the cost/benefit of these programs and ranking them in order of established priorities. Those programs deemed ineffective or non-productive would then be systematically eliminated from the government.
Jim Harvey (I)
17171 Lamont St. NW
Senior deputy administrator, Whitman-Walker Clinic Inc.; president of the board, Community Health Care Inc.; chairman, Ward 1 Council, 1987-89; board member, Housing Counseling Services; advisory board member, IMPACT, D.C.; member, East of the River Health Care Network Coalition; recipient of Educational Talent Search Award for Outstanding Service, 1986; higher education administrator, with emphasis on educational access for disadvantaged youth; health care administrator, specializing in community-based care and case management; oldest of 10 children; graduate of Roosevelt University; veteran of 1960s civil rights movement.
I am inclined not to support tax increases to deal with the District's mounting deficit because I am convinced that all has not been done to realize savings with the revenue currently generated. If I were to support a tax increase, I would begin with luxury items such as tobacco and alcohol. The first step, however, is to redirect our spending priorities and trim our local government work force. Next, we must tighten controls over contracting and eliminate give-aways. In addition, we should step up negotiations for more increases in the federal payment. Finally, our own Department of Finance and Revenue must aggressively pursue outstanding debts owed to the District. By reorganizing our priorities and utilizing our own resources more effectively, we will realize considerable savings. These steps could include but not be limited to use of D.C.-owned properties for housing government offices, including school properties, using public housing units to house homeless families and using tenant assistance programs to prevent homelessness. It's far more cost-effective and humane.
Clarene Martin (I)
439 M St. NW
Lawyer; JD, Northeastern University School of Law; BA, Howard University; legal staff, National Labor Relations Board, 1973-75 and 1976-89; staff member, D.C. Council, 1975-76; member and former chairman, ANC-2C, 1987-present; member and former president, Potomac Business and Professional Women; member, Washington Orange Cap Patrol, Washington Bar Association and Greater Washington Area Women Lawyers division of National Bar Association; named 1990 Potomac Business Woman of the Year; native Washingtonian; worked to aid formation of public-private partnerships to create housing and stimulate neighborhood improvements; helped organize residents to save the Langston golf course.
The D.C. government faces a structural deficit of $100 million annually. This is not a short-term problem; there are no magical solutions. As excessive as the District's spending is relative to its needs (even when one adjusts for state plus local workloads), at present, major cuts are not an option. Expenditure reduction must be carried out as part of a multi-year plan. Not to do so would be insensitive and inefficient. Quick "meat-ax" fixes are no fix at all. Receipts must be increased. New taxes are out of the question. I would introduce plans for the city to sell $100 million to $150 million of its vacant or underutilized property assets to the private sector for economic development. This is fiscally and economically sound. It can quickly be made operational. Moreover, it would permit the new mayor and the new D.C. Council time to review the forthcoming Rivlin Commission recommendations and fashion a long-term solution.
1459 Roxanna Rd. NW
At-large member, D.C. Council, 1977-present, chairman, Committee on Education and Libraries; Ward 4 representative, D.C. Board of Education, 1972-77; director for the District, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board; at-large delegate, D.C. Statehood Constitutional Convention, 1981-82; worked as teacher, counselor, supervising instructor and assistant principal in D.C. public schools.
Before raising taxes, I would try other approaches. Government can become more efficient. My record shows that I have refused to make taxpayers pay for wasteful, out-of-control spending. I exposed inflated school enrollment figures, allowing the District to reduce expenditures. I have voted to lower homeowners' property tax rates and to increase the homestead exemption. To lower property taxes for homeowners and tenants, I introduced legislation to shift the tax burden from the value of buildings to land (my "split-rate" tax proposal). This could also increase the housing stock by encouraging speculators to "take the boards off." Property assessments must be standardized and made equitable. A formula-based federal payment is necessary to make it predictable in our annual budget. If taxes must go up, I would tax luxuries, alcohol, cigarettes, gasoline and hotel rooms.
W. Cardell Shelton (R)
Requested information not received from candidate