DC Council Committee Fast-Tracks Big Tax Giveaway

I’d just posted my rant on business tax breaks when the DC Council Finance Committee held a hearing on the proposed Global Security and Aerospace Industry Tax Abatement Act of 2010–the creatively-named tax giveaway package for Northrop Grumann.

Under Council rules, hearings of this sort are supposed to be announced 15 days in advance so that D.C. residents and other interested parties have an opportunity to get on the witness list and prepare their testimony.

The notice for this hearing was posted just six days in advance–two of them weekend days.

Could it be that Finance Committee Chairman Jack Evans didn’t want us to hear from the opposition–or to have their views on the public record? Or did Northrup Grumann, which is playing the competition for all it’s worth, demand cash on the barrel head? Or did Evans decide he’d better get the vote over with before concerns about the adverse budget impacts of the giveaway escalate?

No matter. The hearing is over. Alert opponents did testify. And a couple of co-sponsors are reportedly wavering.

Still, we concerned citizens deserved a fair chance to have our say–and to hear what a broader range of witnesses might have said if the committee had followed the rules.

It’s things like this that lead so many to feel that the political process is rigged. And, at least sometimes, they may be right.

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