At a candidates forum sponsored by some of the District's premier business organizations, Fenty was the only one of five major candidates to answer yes when asked whether he would commit to levying no additional taxes on business.As we've noted before on this blog, no new tax pledges are irresponsible and potentially damaging.
Fenty's no new tax pledge is even that much more reckless because he's been pushing for a large school modernization bill:
Ed Lazere, executive director of the liberal D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, questioned Fenty's sudden zeal for restraining taxes. He noted that a massive school modernization bill championed by Fenty and recently approved by the council requires that certain taxes on commercial real estate transactions go up automatically if sufficient funding cannot be found in the current budget.No new tax pledges are nothing more than political pandering. It's not only important to spend responsibly, it's also just as important to raise money responsibly. By taking this pledge, Fenty is making an irresponsible decision. A responsible civic leader doesn't take anything off the table - especially something as vital to public policy as taxation.
Lazere said the city has approved more than $300 million in tax cuts over the past few years, adding, "I don't think anyone should cut off the option of tax increases to address huge, pressing problems like school modernization and affordable housing."