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Posted at 9:47 PM ET, 10/26/2010

A GOP House could be good for D.C.

By editors

By Jeff Surrell

In his Oct. 23 op-ed, “GOP storm brewing for the District,” Colbert I. King warned District residents of the perceived dangers of the GOP regaining power on Capitol Hill and rightly suggested that presumptive mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray do his homework to build relations with incoming Republicans, whose party is often indifferent or hostile to the District.

If Mr. Gray digs deeply enough, he may find some tantalizing policies brewing in GOP circles. One proposal that would have a profound impact on the District is a bill submitted by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that would free D.C. residents from paying federal income taxes until they get true voting representation in Congress. This initiative would bring to life the cheeky slogan on D.C. license plates and make the District the envy of the 50 states.

U.S. possessions with nonvoting delegates to the House (American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.) are exempt from paying federal income taxes because Congress acknowledged that they do not have an elected representative in Congress to vote on federal income tax legislation.

Regardless of the constitutional issue of D.C. voting rights, perhaps the new mayor can pay a visit to the Republicans who are bringing fresh ideas to what has been a difficult relationship.

By editors  | October 26, 2010; 9:47 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Vincent Gray  
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This is a "Red herring". Exempting DC residents from taxes is nothing new. It has been proposed before, by a Democrat no less, Elanor Holmes Norton. It's just a distraction from the real issue which is full participation in our Democracy through statehood. Louie Gohmert is no friend of the District. He stood in the way of the DC Voing Rights act and even attempted to put dozens of amendments on it. He said "if DC deserved representation so did every Federal enclave in America". He then attempted to give a Representative to every military base in the country. Like many Republicans in Congress, this guy could care less about your rights. His legislation has been pending in the house for years with other Republican bill's like
the "retrocession" bill by Rohrabacher (R-CA) or the "One-Vote" bill by Davis (R-VA). All of these are non-starters. These guys know this and that's why they support them. My advice to our persumptive new mayor, don't play the same old game with these folks, think outside the box. I think he has figured this out on his own already, since I have heard him talk recently about things like civil disobedience. The Congress of the United States has held us down for 210 years. They know what they're doing. Only when we stand up and demand equality through statehood will we be on the path to the full citizenship we deserve. Anything less is just a diversion. -- Sen. Brown, District of Columbia.

Posted by: hrzcom | October 27, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I disagree - we've been "demanding equality through statehood" for years and it's gotten us nowhere. While I agree that Gohmert is no friend of the District I cannot see why we shouldn't support any bill that exempts DC residents from the federal income tax under our current status. There is no reason why I should pay federal taxes like the residents of the states without the corresponding privileges, while resident of US territories are exempt. If and when we achieve statehood, I'll be more than happy to resume paying federal income tax.

Posted by: dwt301 | October 27, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The point isn't that we shouldn't pay taxes. The point is that we have also been demanding that for decades and have gotten nowhere. So since we are getting nowhere, we might as well demand the right thing. The thing that will make us whole, statehood. In addition, many of us are not interested in selling off our rights. Sen. B

Posted by: hrzcom | October 27, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing new. Been tossed around for the ~3 decades I've lived here. While I would prefer full voting rights as I think it is completely strange that we've spent 1.5 trillion dollars giving Iraqi citizens more voting rights than the citizens of the US Capital City, I don't expect to see those kind of voting rights in my lifetime.

A non-federal tax plan would start an old school style virtual "goldrush" for DC. The District residents currently pay 20 billion a year in federal taxes, more than 19 states.

You would have a massive influx of resdients in from MD and VA, especially the young, well paid and childless crowd who don't have to worry abotu schools. You'd have people moving here from the rest of the nation trying to avoid paying there ~10-20% of their income in federal taxes. DC would experience a housing boom that would make the one from 2000-2006 look like a joke. With the people come all the ancillary businesses, retail, commerical that service them.

We haven't even talked about the effect of DC residents now having an additional 20 billion a year in disposable income, much of which would be spent in or around the District.

I would gladly sign on to not paying federal income tax, and would be shocked if that was done by a Republican Congress.

Posted by: Nosh1 | October 27, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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