Morning Read: D.C. Property Values Drop, Overall Economy Improves - NBC4 Washington
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Morning Read: D.C. Property Values Drop, Overall Economy Improves



    The District saw an almost 10 percent decline in property values during the last two years, amounting to nearly $14 billion in losses of assessed worth, says a new report by D.C.’s top financial officer.

    The Examiner reports that the quickly declining values, caused by the recession, cost the District government more than $100 million in property taxes in fiscal year 2011 alone.

    Residential and commercial property were valued at a total of $140 billion, a drop from the $154 billion of two years ago.

    While the dropoff did make it more difficult to balance the budget, the overall economy in the city has improved, according to the Examiner.

    Personal income and, subsequently, base taxable income are up. Last fall, the D.C. Council passed an income tax hike on the city’s wealthiest residents.

    But the city is not in the clear, and economists are worried about next year's returns, which are expected to decrease by $40 million in 2013 -- assuming the federal government slashes spending and federal jobs from the District.

    * Need to catch up with what’s happening at UVA? The Washington Post has a list and explanation of the key players in the ousting of President Teresa Sullivan.

    * Marion Barry recently hired a new communications director, and it seems like he hired the right woman for the job. As DCist points out, in her introductory press release, LaToya Foster -- former journalist and TV personality -- refers to the mayor-for-life as Ward 8’s “Commander-in-Chief.

    * Harry Thomas Jr. gave an exclusive interview to The Washington Times hours before he headed to prison. He said he spent his days “getting thinigs in order for his family.”

    Via the Times: “'Fear of the unknown,' Thomas said, is something he is still is coming to grips with, even though he knows 'God helps you conquer all obstacles'.”

    * The Virginian Pilot is calling for the UVA’s rector to resign:

    "The rector has shown disrespect for the university's shareholders and utter disregard for the value of transparent governance. She has shredded her credibility as a leader of the board, and so diminished the campus community's faith in her judgment that she is now simply ineffective.

    Dragas' term ends July 1, although she is eligible for reappointment by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    In the best interests of herself, the governor and the university she professes to love, Dragas and her collaborators should resign, as the Faculty Senate's executive council demanded Monday.

    If Dragas does not, McDonnell should refuse to reappoint her. Otherwise he is signaling his support for what she and the board have done and how they've handled it.

    A tremendous amount of work must be done at U.Va. to quell the suspicion, the anger and the distrust that have roiled the campus. That work cannot be done if the person responsible for it remains there."

    * Maryland, like three-fifths of the other states, is in serious need of pension reform.

    The Maryland Reporter discusses a study that says that Maryland needs additional reform to its pension system, since it continues to shortchange the recommended annual contributions to the system.

    * Obama’s latest ads in Virginia: