DC Action Applauds Tax Revision Commission Recommendations to Tap Extreme Wealth in District

Expresses Concern Recommendations Don’t Go Far Enough to Sustain a Budget that Advances Racially Equitable Future for Next Generation
Press Release
For Immediate Release: January 5th, 2024

Contact Info

Mat Hanson
Chief of Staff
DC Action
mhanson@dckids.org
202-725-4769

Washington, DC (January 5, 2024) – Every child deserves to grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard – and the District’s resources must be leveraged to create this reality for our young people. As the District continues to recover from hardships exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our tax code must be modernized with equitable revenue streams that meet this moment. Earlier today, after nearly a year of thorough discussions, the DC Tax Revision Commission (TRC) released an initial set of recommended strategies for how the District might revise tax policies to promote economic resilience, competitiveness, and racial equity. DC Action Executive Director Kimberly Perry made the following statement reacting to the TRC package of suggestions:

“It is a positive development that the Tax Revision Commission recommends that wealthy homeowners and highly profitable businesses start to pay their fair share, given that they have long benefitted from flat tax structures that place disproportionate burdens on middle income families and small businesses. Creating a progressive property tax and requiring business structures like law and accounting firms to pay their fair share in business activity taxes will add much needed revenue to our budget to meet the core needs of District youth and families as we build back better. The TRC must advance revenue generating recommendations like these in their final proposal, and the Mayor and Council must enact them swiftly. 

DC Action Kids Count data shows that underinvestment in – and divestment from – Black and brown communities has perpetuated intergenerational poverty for tens of thousands of District families. Our children are paying too steep a price for this legacy of structural racism. The District must raise new and sustainable revenue to guarantee access to universal affordable child care and out-of-school-time programs, institute a local child tax credit, permanently raise SNAP and TANF benefits, expand home visiting, and end youth homelessness, to name just a few of the solutions necessary to lift up our youth and ensure a bright future for them no matter their zip code, race, or family income.

“In addition to the TRC proposals to add new revenue to the District budget, we are encouraged to see the inclusion of a proposal to adopt a local child tax credit (CTC) of $1,000 per child and expansions of Schedule H and Earned Income Tax Credits to more Washingtonians struggling to make ends meet. The increases in the federal CTC payments during COVID lifted more than 25,000 DC children out of poverty. Building upon this success with well targeted tax relief for working families is a worthy investment and an incisive way to use the tax code to advance racial and economic equality. 

“We remain concerned, however, that this initial package of proposals does not go far enough to reform DC taxes. Only a revenue-positive package will fulfill the Commission’s requirement to recommend proposals that eliminate racial disparities, protect low-income residents, and lift up working families. Adopting proposed cuts to important funding streams like corporate and personal property taxes, unincorporated business taxes, and business licensing fees, among others, will make it harder for the District to cover our portion of Metro, raise educator pay, end homelessness, break cycles of poverty, and improve the reliability of basic government services, especially the services that lower income Black and brown children and families depend on every day to grow and succeed. The District should instead prioritize tax reforms and simplifications that will grow our local resources, not maintain a harmful status quo or create revenue losses.  

“We will be reviewing these proposals more closely in the days to come as more details are made public in order to provide substantive feedback on the harms of regressive tax cuts – and other proposed reforms – when the TRC opens its public comment period later in January. DC Action and our many partners who educate and nurture young people all across the District know that now is the time to be ‘all in’ on growing our local revenue so that we can make the transformative investments needed for children and families to thrive.“ 

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About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.