Gray Vetoes D.C. Budget, Cites Yoga Tax, Streetcar Funding
Lame duck D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced Friday that he plans to veto the D.C. Council’s fiscal 2015 budget, a move that could rekindle protests against the so-called yoga tax. Gray cited the 5.75 percent tax on health club services as one of his main beefs with the measure that cleared the council on a 12-1 vote in late June, and asked lawmakers to delay their summer recess for 30 days to work with his administration on a compromise.
“I cannot, in good conscience, sign a budget that hurts seniors, taxes wellness, dramatically delays and drives up the cost of the D.C. Streetcar system, and ties the hands of future Mayors to respond to fiscal problems,” Gray said in his Friday statement, released along with a letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
One of Gray’s greatest concerns is the long-delayed D.C. Streetcar project, which he said would be delayed until 2045 under the current proposal. He also says it would increase the cost of the program by 50 percent.
Because the council only needs nine votes to override a mayoral veto, the mayor’s objections might be moot. An amendment that would have killed the tax on wellness services was defeated by a 9-4 vote.
Still, Gray maintains he could not in good conscience go along with the council’s proposal.
“Although I will not be in office when the majority of this budget is implemented, I cannot turn a blind eye to the impact that it will have on the next administration and District residents,” he said.