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Cohen wage tax cut
Yesterday, Council repealed the wage tax rebate for the working poor. This landmark legislation, one of the signature achievements of the late Councilman David Cohen, was repealed by a 10-6 vote, with 8 of those repealing votes coming from Democrats. Voting in favor of repeal were the following:
Clarke D-5th District
Green D-At Large
Greenlee D-At Large
Henon D-6th District
Jones D-4th District
Kenney D-At Large
O’Neill R-10th District
Oh R-At Large
Tasco D-9th District
Voting against repeal were the following, including only 5 Democrats:
Bass D-8th District
Blackwell D-3rd District
Goode D-At Large
Johnson D-2nd District
O’Brien R-At Large
Squilla D-1st District
Generally I try not to engage in single-issue rating of politicians. But this is going to be a hard pill to swallow when it’s time to vote for the repealers again. The wage tax credit is the kind of tax provision that generally marks the divide between Democrats and Republicans. It’s targeted toward the working poor so only those that need it get it. Credit recipients recycle the money to the economy by spending it locally, rather than on overseas vacations, or by depositing it in offshore accounts. The City gains by enabling economically marginal families to pay their rent and utilities, thus keeping families intact and lowering pressure on local services.
In a move that gives hope that City Council will recognize a need to be responsive to the economic needs of low income citizens, Council postponed a vote on the repeal of the Cohen wage tax cut from today to June 28, 2012. Cracks are clearly appearing in the unity that led 9 members of City Council to vote against the interests of many of their constituents and supporters.
In a meeting of the City Council Committee of the Whole last week, eight members of City Council had voted against repealing the long-scheduled wage tax cut for low income people that first became law in 2004, but has been repeatedly delayed since. These Council members included Council members at large Denis O'Brien, Wilson Goode and James Kenney, and district council members Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, Jannie Blackwell, Maria Quinones Sanchez and Cindy Bass.
Massive pressure will likely be placed on these eight members of City Council to change their position in time for the June 28, 2012 Council meeeting. Those who support city tax justice for low income citizens who are too poor to pay either state or federal income taxes should make it clear to the original eight that their continued opposition is needed and is important.
People also should be contacting the nine members favoring repeal of the low income tax benefit: Council at Large members Bill Green, Bill Greenlee, David Oh, and Blondell Reynolds Brown as well as District Council members Curtis Jones, the Council Majority Leader, Darryl Clark, the Council President, Bobby Henon, Marian Tasco, and Brian O'Neill.