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EDITORIAL
Lower taxes now
(Published May 16, 2005)

The District's elected officials are failing to comprehend the seriousness with which they need to focus their attention on reducing residential real estate taxes not just limiting annual increases.

Pause, take a deep breath and examine what the D.C. City Council and the mayor have actually done, aside from blathering about their "concern" for residents:

While the increase in the homestead deduction will provide a temporary reduction in property taxes for some, but not all, D.C. homeowners, the other "tax relief" measures approved by the council are so conditional that they offer no certain help to anyone.

Meanwhile, the District's elected leaders continue to base their budgeting on the expectation that homeowners' taxes will rise each year.

A well-managed government should not make such an assumption.

Unfortunately, not even the control board overseers that Congress imposed on the District during the past decade took seriously their directive to reform the management of the D.C. government. If truth be known, the highly secretive and expensive control board miserably failed to fix anything, while taking credit for financial prosperity that was more attributable to a robust national economy spilling its benefits into the nation's capital.

It's easy to look like you know how to manage when money keeps pouring in.

However, city officials apparently aren't listening closely enough to the pleas of many of the District's middle-class homeowners who find themselves living in million-dollar homes that they purchased for a fraction of the assessed value on which they are now being taxed.

The very stability that makes many of the District's neighborhoods so attractive as places to live is being jeopardized by elected leaders' failure to exercise the political will necessary to control the city's growth and purse strings to primarily benefit its residents.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator