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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 08/ 1/2010

D.C. voting rights: Get serious about statehood

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Michael D. Brown
Washington

No one has more respect for Eleanor Holmes Norton than I do, and I am encouraged by her announcement that she plans to introduce a statehood bill in Congress if she is reelected. She’s right that “it was the city’s decision that took statehood off the table,” and it should be the city that supports restoring it. The people of the District have never abandoned statehood as our goal; it was the D.C. Council and those who seek compromise on Capitol Hill who did.

I disagree with Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi that “statehood would cost the District an extra $1.2 billion.” Although the District as a state would be responsible for some of this cost, a portion would still be the responsibility of the federal government. Also, we must remember that the group D.C. Appleseed has shown that we leave $2 billion a year on the table by not being a state, because we are not able to tax the 72 percent of the city workforce that lives in Maryland and Virginia.

I would add that bringing us close to representation, as happened with the D.C. voting rights bill this year, does not make us stronger; our recurring losses only embolden our opposition. And we are going to have to face gun proponents no matter what.

Last year, Puerto Rico put $20 million into its effort to become a state; the District has budgeted $0 for fiscal 2011. I went to a statehood rally last week, and fewer than 100 people showed up. Until the city budgets real money and Washingtonians show their support, the movement will go nowhere.

It’s time to stop looking for different ways to make this work. When in doubt, do the right thing, and the right thing is statehood.

The writer is shadow U.S. senator for the District.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | August 1, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., DC Vote, HotTopic  
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Next: D.C. voting: Don't forget retrocession

Comments

I love it. It's all about the taxes. You think if DC is a state you could tax the people that make the city work, who already pay taxes in the city, and cost you nothing because they're not the ones running around murdering each other like animals.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 5, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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