Businesses Upset With Plan to Divert Ballpark Tax to General Fund

Fenty's revised budget includes $50 million shifted from ballpark fund

WASHINGTON -- Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is upsetting businesses with plans to divert millions of dollars from the ballpark tax to reduce the city's deficit, the Washington Examiner reported.

The Ballpark Revenue Fund is intended to pay down the debt on Nationals Park. But Fenty's revised 2010 budget shifts $50 million from it to the general fund over the next four years.

The move has angered many medium and large business owners. They pay an annual tax on gross receipts for the ballpark fund. The D.C. Chamber of Commerce is fighting the plan, which the D.C. Council is set to vote on July 31.

Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, defends the diversion. The city is scrambling to preserve services without raising taxes, he said.

Businesses already hurting from the recession are angry with the proposal to repurpose funds designated specifically for the ballpark to the general fund. Under former Mayor Anthony Williams, the city had pledged that any ballpark fund surpluses would be used to pay off the $535 million bond issue early.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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