D.C. Mayor vetoes budget, Council to consider veto override

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA/AP) - District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray on Friday vetoed the $10.6 billion budget approved by the D.C. Council.

Gray said that he can't "in good conscience" support a spending plan that cuts funding for the city's streetcar system, taxes yoga classes and gym memberships and defunds property tax relief for senior citizens.

Gray also said the budget will hinder future mayors from responding to fiscal problems. The mayor lost his re-election bid in the April Democratic primary to Council member Muriel Bowser and has less than six months remaining on his term.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he was disappointed with the mayor's veto and would work with colleagues to override it on Monday. The council approved the budget by a 12-1 margin. Nine votes would be needed to override the veto.

In a letter to the Council on Friday, the mayor urged them "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.”

Gray continued: “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," he wrote.

Gray concluded the letter by saying, "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.”