The DC Council approved Tuesday afternoon a number of changes as part of its budget vote, including a 10 percent raise on the District’s gas tax, taking away security responsibility of public schools from police, and delaying some corporate tax cuts.
The raise in the gas tax, which consequently hit 33.8 percent, passed the Council despite DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s urging of the members to refrain from any tax increases in the 2021 budget.
The council members agreed on three amendments relating to tax changes in order to cover the needs of poor residents, ending a tax break for tech companies totaling $17 million.
A total of $7.4 million from a tax break for corporations will go to support for undocumented workers, affordable housing, and emergency rental assistance.
Further details of the budget will be cleared by the Council before holding a second vote, which is scheduled for later in July.
Another amendment that passed the Council shifted control for school security from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to DC Public Schools (DCPS), ending MPD’s contract that enabled it to manage hundreds of security guards hired by a private company.
The change followed racial justice protests across the nation that erupted in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, in Minneapolis. It was proposed by At-large Councilmember David Grosso.
“In the wake of police killings of unarmed Black Americans, the District of Columbia, along with the rest of the nation, is re-examining the role of police in all aspects of our lives, including in our children’s schools,” Grosso said.
“The safety of our students is a priority but our current staffing of schools indicates that we are more interested in policing our students than we are in ensuring their academic success or supporting their mental and behavioral health. After discussions with many school leaders and students, I believe our students’ safety can better be provided for by DCPS–whose primary mission is the academic success and social-emotional development of our young people–without MPD’s involvement.”