City Desk

The Needle: Brother, Can You Spare $600 Million Edition

D.C. Busted: For months, budget experts and politicians have been warning of how bad the District's fiscal situation is, and how much would have to be cut from expenditures (or raised in new taxes) to fill a $450 million gap in this year's balance sheet. Now it turns out the real shortfall is $600 million instead. The solution is obvious—start charging a tax on commuters from Maryland and Virginia who spend most of their weeks here and take all their income home with them—but unfortunately, that's not an option. (Thanks, Congress!) Look for a municipal bake sale soon, featuring $40,000 cupcakes; if it's sponsored by those folks with the TLC show, people are sure to buy 'em. -4

Run, Rudy, Run: And now, time for today's installment of completely arbitrary national rankings ginned up to get Web traffic by magazine editors. The latest news: D.C. lands at fifth on a list of the rudest cities in America compiled by Travel + Leisure. Their evidence of our obnoxious nature? Harry S Truman said to get a dog if you want a friend in Washington. The list is clearly wrong, regardless; Philadelphia came in third. Having lived there for more than six years, we can't really trust any rudeness ranking Philly doesn't top. -1

All Your Tax Are Belong To Us: A little-known side effect of being a U.S. colony is that technically, every dollar the D.C. government spends is appropriated to the city by Congress; local tax revenues are turned over to the U.S. Treasury, then given back to the District, in an accounting gimmick that makes about as much sense as, well, denying meaningful representation in the national legislature to residents of the nation's capital does. And so it is that the new Republican House has decided to try to ban District authorities from spending any money—even money that comes from local income or sales taxes—to pay for abortions. Passing laws that only affect a city where none of your constituents live is, clearly, the American dream. -3

Millions and Millions: George Washington University typically finds itself near the top of the "America's most expensive colleges" lists. But now it's clear that all that tuition money is good for something, after all: It can buy you luck! A GW alumnus, Gilbert Cisneros, and his wife Jacki won $266 million in a California lottery drawing last May, and they've given GW $1.1 million out of their haul. Presumably, soon you'll be able to buy lottery tickets with your GWorld card. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 55 Today's score: -7 Friday bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 50

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  • Rick Mangus

    You all voted these tax and spend liberals back into office, now suffer!

  • WardQueen

    " Look for a municipal bake sale soon, featuring $40,000 cupcakes; "

    Better yet, $1500.00 banners! Why not build a banner factory, manufacture banners here in the District and convince visitors and adjoining Virginia and Maryland communities to buy "authentic DC 'name your own district' banners". Here's the rub! Instead of giving the $1450.00 spread to bored Q Street fraus, a.k.a. "crack marketing team", for "consulting" we spread it around.

  • GJ

    Bring back the Financial Control Board. The DC Gov has once again proved that they are not responsible. When you have folks that are not elected making the budget the will make the hard choices that the DC Council and Mayor wont. It sounds like a shitty deal but it turned the city around last time. I also wonder how they burned thru a billion dollars in the past four years?

  • Typical DC BS

    When tax revenues rise with the good times, politicians LOVE to spend it all. When the inevitable bad times hit, politicians forget that they need to cut back to match revenues with expenses. Their solution is to continue to tax and spend. Doesn't make a difference if they are Republicans or Democrats, they both pull that stunt.

    I don't buy the argument that they need to raise tax rates. They need to cut out the additional spending they authorized over the past 5 years.

  • Chris Lewis

    Wow rough day. Thank God for the Friday bonus!

  • sedcdude

    "I don't buy the argument that they need to raise tax rates. They need to cut out the additional spending they authorized over the past 5 years."


    and also stop pissing on the taxpayers and calling it lemonade!