Attorneys preparing to sue Mayor Vincent Gray and his administration to force compliance with the District’s budget autonomy law informed all relevant members of Congress before heading to D.C. Superior Court on Thursday.
Hours later, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called for Congress to pass legislation co-sponsored by Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, that would permit the District to spend local tax funds without congressional approval.
DC Vote is proud to have joined the suit filed in DC Superior Court by the DC Council today in support of DC budget autonomy and the will of the people. DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry issued the following statement regarding the filing of the suit.
With Capitol Hill failing to either stop the District’s local budget autonomy act from becoming law, or pass legislation freeing the city’s locally raised funds from the appropriations process, the issue is headed to court and pitting D.C.’s elected officials against one another.
Attorneys representing the D.C. Council filed suit on Thursday against the administration of Mayor Vincent Gray for refusing to comply with the process established when the local law went into effect on Jan. 1.
Standing in front of the D.C. Superior Court before members of the media this morning, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, along with Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and attorneys Karen L. Dunn and Brian D. Netter, announced that the D.C. Council has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Vince Gray and the city's Chief Financial Officer over the budget autonomy referendum.
Six days after Mayor Vince Gray’s office told DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’sschedule for passing the city’s 2015 budget would violate federal law and trigger a local government shutdown, the Council took the bait and sued Gray, claiming the District has more autonomy over its budget than the mayor’s office lets on.
The D.C. Council is suing Mayor Vincent Gray's office over a law that gives the city more control over its local budget.
District voters approved a referendum in 2012 that allows the city to spend its local tax dollars without authorization by Congress. Gray supported the measure but said he had questions about its legality. The referendum became law after Congress made no effort to invalidate it.
The D.C. Council sued the mayor for the first time in more than a decade Thursday, challenging Vincent C. Gray’s refusal to abide by a ballot measure granting the city greater fiscal freedom from Congress, even as Gray emphasized his sympathy with the council’s ultimate goal.
A conflict between the D.C. Council and Mayor Vincent Gray over whether or not the city now enjoys budget autonomy is heading to court, and a ruling could have an impact on how this year's budget process plays out.
The Council is filing suit today over last year's budget autonomy referendum, in which 83 percent of D.C. residents voted to amend the city's Home Rule Charter to allow the city more control over its locally raised funds.
It was probably destined to come to this: With all sides locked into conflicting positions on the validity of last year’s budget autonomy referendum, it will now be up to a judge – or, more likely, a D.C. Court of Appeals panel — to determine if the ballot measure means the city can now spend local funds without a separate congressional appropriation. D.C.
Kimberly Perry, the executive director of DC Vote, expressed her displeasure Friday with top city officials for trying to undermine budget autonomy in the District.
"It is deeply disappointing that the District's attorney general and mayor are working to undermine the will of the people — and the budget law — rather than fighting for self-determination and defending our right to budget freedom that was won through the ballot box," Perry said.