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Posted at 10:16 PM ET, 07/ 4/2010

'Tax fairness'? There's a better way

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Richard Suisman
Washington

I was pleased to see Chuck Ludlam’s June 27 Local Opinions commentary, “Where now on voting rights? Let’s fight for tax fairness,” arguing for a new focus by the District’s leaders on the city’s serious revenue limitations. My organization has been working to address that issue for many years, and we agree that the city’s inability to tax nonresidents has made it impossible for the District government to pay for all the services needed by residents, nonresidents, visitors and the federal government itself.

Where we disagree with Mr. Ludlam is his suggestion that the best way to address the city’s revenue shortfall is through introduction of a bill authorizing a nonresident income tax. The strong opposition to such a bill from Virginia and Maryland would make it nearly impossible to pass. The better approach is the one we laid out in the report we jointly issued a year ago with D.C. Appleseed and the Brookings Institution.

That report, “Building the Best Capital City in the World,” explained that because the federal government prohibited a nonresident income tax in the city, it should compensate the city for the resulting $1 billion annual shortfall. This is particularly so given that the federal government, the region and the nation all have a stake in making sure the District has the funds it needs to make our Capital City a model for the world and one we all can be proud of.

The writer is chair of the group Our Nation’s Capital.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | July 4, 2010; 10:16 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, DC Vote, HotTopic  
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