Photo by jcolman on Flickr.
One of the predominant myths about the District is that the federal government fully compensates any costs or lost revenue it incurs as the Federal District. In reality, DC residents bear a heavy fiscal burden — to the tune of about $1 billion a year — because of a structural deficit that Congress could fix.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, clearly understands this, stating last week that he is open to a measure that would shrink this deficit.
What about House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer? It was disappointing enough that the powerful Maryland Democrat came out immediately against Issa’s proposal. Did he have to do it by evoking the myth that won’t die?
The District’s structural deficit begins with the fact that the largest employer and landowner in the city — the federal government — pays no property tax. Neither do embassies, non-governmental organizations or other nonprofits. Yet the District provides all of these institutions and their employees with the same services it provides to private, tax-paying property owners. The DC chief financial officer estimates that the District loses $540 million a year because of this.
Continue reading Ken’s op-ed in the Washington Post. And please congratulate Ken for his first op-ed for the Post! We hope to see more of Ken’s articles on the editorial pages in the future, as well as those from other frequent contributors.