New analysis says Metro sales tax would unfairly burden poor families, suggests new tax on businesses – Washington Business Journal

By Drew Hansen

A regionwide sales tax to fund Metro would disproportionally burden Greater Washington’s poor families, according to a new analysis from three left-leaning think tanks. The report, published ahead of a Monday summit involving the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the D.C. mayor, is suggesting additional property taxes on businesses closest to Metro stations.

The impact of a 1 percent regional sales tax, which has been floated as a way to give the region’s beleaguered transit system the $650 million in funding it says it needs to bring the system into good repair, would have an impact five times greater on low-income families while leaving businesses and high-income families largely off the hook, according to the report.

In place of the sales tax option, the report — compiled by from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, Maryland Center on Economic Policy and The Commonwealth Institute — suggests setting revenue commitments from participating jurisdictions. Each municipality would be able to decide how to pay for it.

“When we’re asking a family who maybe tomorrow is skipping a meal, or two or three by the end of the month, ‘Hey, we need another 50 bucks for Metro,’ that is food that’s being taken off their table because they are spending all of their income,” Benjamin Orr, executive director at the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, told The Washington Post. “In many cases, their bills and their obligations, and what they need to survive, exceeds what their income is.”

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