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Thursday
May032012

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Washington, D.C., City Council committee rejection of proposal to extend bar hours as means of additional revenue source, stage now set for debate over second tax increase on alcohol in the past year....

* Washington Post:  "Extension of bar hours rejected by council committee" - From the WP:

   A D.C. Council committee on Wednesday defeated Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s proposal to extend bar hours by one hour, leaving a $3.2 million hole in the next fiscal year’s budget that some members hope to plug by raising taxes on beer, wine and liquor sales.

   In a 3 to 2 vote, the Human Services Committee stripped from the budget the proposal to extend alcohol sales to 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends. That set the stage for an intense debate over whether the full council should adopt the second tax increase on alcohol in the past year.

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   By rejecting Gray’s proposal, the committee was left with a $347 million budget for human services that a majority of its members could neither fully fund nor support. Moments after they voted down the extension of hours, members fretted that Gray’s fiscal 2012 budget cut $5 million in assistance for needy families and $7 million for homeless services.

   Unable to stomach the cuts but short of revenue, the committee then voted 4 to 1 against Gray’s social services budget, punting the tough decisions about how to fund those priorities to the full council. The move left a window for reconsideration of extending bar hours later this month.

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   The proposed excise tax increase, which the hospitality industry is rallying to derail, would raise an estimated $20 million.

   Pedro Ribeiro, a Gray spokesman, said the mayor continues to support his proposal to extend bar hours, casting it as a choice between his plan and higher taxes........