Hill Talk: Parking Garage Tax Increase May Be Delayed

D.C. Council Amendment Could Push Back Parking Tax Hike to October; National Portrait Gallery to Unveil Exhibit Showcasing Reagan’s Life

Posted June 15, 2011 at 5:56pm

The  first parking garage tax increase in decades may be pushed back to October, thanks to a city budget amendment passed by the D.C. Council on Tuesday.

In Mayor Vince Gray’s fiscal 2012 budget, the parking garage tax would increase to 18 percent from 12 percent. The tax increase was slated to begin July 1, three months before the start of the next fiscal year, to make up for the city’s budget shortfall, which has amounted to almost $200 million in fiscal 2011.

But an amendment proposed by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D) would push the start date back to Oct. 1, when fiscal 2012 begins.

That would only happen if the city’s chief financial officer, Natwar Gandhi, finds that the city revenue in June exceeds the original projections.

Pushing back the date would give city parking garages more time to reorganize their infrastructures to deal with the tax increase, an Evans spokesman said.

The increase is the first of its kind in years. The D.C. parking garage tax rate has been 12 percent since the 1970s.

According to the mayor’s budget, the 50 percent increase will result in $18.2 million in revenue.

One parking garage employee said the latest information provided to his company is that the increased tax rate is expected to start July 1.

MarcParc Inc., a major parking company in D.C., distributed letters to cars parked in its garages across the city Wednesday, alerting customers of the increase.

“They provided no notice and no explanation for this,” the letter reads.

It also urges customers to contact the D.C. Council with the following message: “I am outraged that you would impose an increased parking tax on me with less than two weeks notice! … Neither the mayor nor the Council felt it was necessary to highlight this accelerated effective date.”

Ronald Reagan on Display

The National Portrait Gallery will open a new exhibit about the life of President Ronald Reagan next month. “One Life: Ronald Reagan” will provide a timeline of the 40th president’s life, including growing up in Illinois, his Hollywood years and the presidency.

The exhibit opens in conjunction with the centennial of Reagan’s birth.

Some of the portraits will show the president’s earlier incarnations as a sports radio announcer and an actor, including an image from his film “Knute Rockne, All-American.”

But the majority of the works put his political career on visual display, from his successful gubernatorial bid in California and the assassination attempt in 1981 to the Iran-Contra affair and the  Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization strike.

Those works include Andy Warhol’s 1985 portrait of Reagan, a bronze sculpture of Reagan as a cowboy by Patrick Oliphant, a piece of the Berlin Wall and video excerpts of his speeches.

“This ‘One Life’ exhibition acknowledges the long and remarkable career of an American leader whose life spanned nearly the entire 20th century,” Martin Sullivan, the gallery’s director, said in a statement. “Ronald Reagan played a key role in many aspects of American public life.”

The exhibit opens July 1 and runs through May 28. An online version of the exhibit will also be available at npg.si.edu.