The D.C. Council will vote next month on whether to bring to a referendum a proposal that would bypass Congress and give the city control over how it raises and spends local tax dollars, Chairman Phil Mendelson said Friday.
Mendelson’s statement came at the end of a council hearing during which broad support was expressed for amending the city charter to remove the city budget from the annual congressional appropriations process.
Instead of being tied to the federal budget, which makes the District vulnerable to congressional restrictions, the city’s annual spending plan would be approved by the mayor and council, just as countless other bills are.
Mendelson (D) is pushing ahead with the referendum even though neither Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) nor Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) appears enthusiastic about the proposal, first suggested by the advocacy groups D.C. Vote and D.C. Appelseed Center for Law and Justice.
Norton and Gray have worked to get Congress to approve budget autonomy, which would avoid legal questions about whether the District has the authority to claim budget authority for itself.