This week the DC Council took the first step towards approving the city’s budget and preserving tax cuts approved by Council in 2014. The cuts include an increase in the amount residents may exempt from the estate tax from $2 million to roughly $5.5 million. The business franchise tax will also be lowered from 9 percent to 8.25 percent. The Washington Post reported, “The reductions for businesses will be paired with increases in personal exemptions and standard deductions that will benefit a large group of low- and middle-income residents next year.”

Some members of the Council attempted to prevent the tax cuts from going into effect in an effort to reallocate the funding to social programs. Chairman Phil Mendelson and other members opposed this effort. Mendelson expressed concern the Council can’t “keep going back to the golden trough to ask businesses for more money.”

Council member Robert C. White Jr. said modifying the 2014 tax package now would effectively “broadcast to our constituents that our word means nothing and that we are not capable of making strategic decisions to use a $14 billion budget.”

The Council is expected to take a final vote on the budget in mid-June.