Wednesday, June 2, 2010
A citywide business tax the D.C. Council passed to help to help pay for the $611 million Washington Nationals ballpark has become such a cash cow that the city is now using it to help close its nine-figure budget gap.
D.C. passed a tax on businesses' gross receipts to help finance the construction of the stadium. From fiscal 2005 until the end of this fiscal year, more than $129 million will have been collected, finance office records show. Overall, the city will have netted more than $135 million in all taxes and rent above what the city is paying back in bond payments from fiscal 2005 to 2010.
But instead of using the surplus funds to pay the stadium off, Mayor Adrian Fenty and the city council are using the money to plug monstrous holes in the District's budget. ...Many business leaders are crying foul. "The deal that we had ... was that any excess monies would be used to pay down the bond," said D.C. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Barbara Lang. "We would like to see those bonds paid off earlier to relieve us of that tax. I'm very concerned that it will become part of the city's operating budget." ... Councilman David Catania, I-At Large, said, "my hope is we'll raid this revenue only so long as we need to."