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Mayor Vincent Gray stands up for Senior Citizens in DC

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On July 11, 2014, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray struck a blow against a proposed tax hike that would hurt Senior Citizens. It is good news for seniors who are retired and living on fixed incomes. A penny saved is really a penny earned. Every penny counts. Finally there is news that one leader understands the plight of seniors who are working part-time jobs long past their prime to make ends meet.

“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,” said Mayor Gray. “I am asking Chairman Mendelson and the other members of the Council to work with me so we can craft a reasonable compromise that resolves these problems and better serves the 647,000 residents of our city.”

Many seniors in the District of Columbia have worked 40, 50, and even 60 years to reach a stage in their lives where their hair is grey and prices are skyrocketing. Gray understands the situation. “Specifically, this budget not only guts the tax cuts we promised our seniors, but also disproportionately shifts the tax burden to them in other ways. And this budget would also have taxed wellness and removed incentives for District employees to live in our city. Furthermore, this budget would delay until 2045 and increase the cost by 50 percent of our most important public-transit initiative in years: The D.C. Streetcar program. Finally, it unnecessarily ties the hands of future Mayors and limits their ability to respond in a fiscally responsible way to unforeseen problems and crises,” Gray said.

Every society in the world that has mistreated its senior citizens has failed. Mayor Gray has asked the District of Columbia City Council to delay their summer recess for 30 days to work with him on a compromise to the “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014” and he returned the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request Act of 2014 with a three line item vetoes.

Getting blood from a turnip is bad business and raising taxes on Senior Citizens is worse. “I am asking Chairman Mendelson and the other members of the Council to work with me so we can craft a reasonable compromise that resolves these problems and better serves the 647,000 residents of our city.”

Senior Citizens have served the District of Columbia as doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, city and federal workers, and small business owners. Many are living in their twilight years only seeking dignity and respect for having survived in a world that seeks youth in everything. Gray has taken a stand that every District of Columbia Senior Citizen should applaud. Writing to the District of Columbia City Council to support his stand would be a wise move for seniors who are already being squeezed out of the existence by higher taxes and age discrimination in employment opportunities..

“For these reasons, I vetoed the budget. If the veto is sustained, I look forward to working with the Council on a stronger compromise budget. However, regardless of what the Council chooses to do, I cannot in good conscience support this budget as submitted. 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,” Gray said.

Note: The District of Columbia City Council has voted to move forward with the tax hike on seniors. The 3 million dollars in increased revenue will mean a $200 a year tax increase for seniors. will remain on this story.



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