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August 14, 1996

DC Taxes #5

Dear Neighbors:

Here's your Tuesday D.C. tax issue. Please help me scare up new subscribers. The more readers, the more interesting the dialogue. FYI: The House District Appropriations Committee holds its hearing on the FY97 budget Wednesday. I plan to attend and report back on anything significant or funny.


Jeffrey Itell


Jeffrey: I'm not sure how to handle submissions to the list, but here's my $.02. After skimming D.C. Delegate Norton's bill, HR 3244, it occurs to me that there is nothing to prevent Montgomery County-types from renting a little efficiency in Shaw, claiming DC residency, and taking advantage of a rather hefty break in federal taxes. Of course, this would be illegal, but won't we all know some weasels who currently do the opposite (i.e., claim Virginia residency while living in Dupont)?

Sure, DC would still get the tax revenue, but a rash of these types of maneuvers could drive up property prices and rents, and would do little to rebuild the community.

Denis Dison


In response to Jeff's challenge, I did a little surfing. The best thing I found was "THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: AMERICA'S WORST GOVERNMENT?", Obviously, this is not unbiased, but it appears to be reasonably well documented. It is from 1991.

There easily could be more, so I would encourage other people to hunt around too and let us know what you find.

Jim Kingdon


Jeff: has got info on tax reform issues - not d.c. related but it's one model for something that could be done for us. If someone wants to volunteer a server, I'd donate some of my time on technical web server issues.

[I may have a web page to which we can attach this web site. I ought to know by the end of the the week. Please check back with me. jeff]

On another matter, I filed my d.c. tax in early April and yesterday got my return back with a note that my schedule A was missing. Now I'm quite certain I attached my schedule A. Is there any possibility that they are returning tax filings of those due a refund in order to postpone payment? Maybe there's a pattern out there. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the d.c. government isn't out to get you.

[Never underestimate the incompetency of the bureaucracy--speaking as an ex-bureaucrat. I filed for a refund this year and got it in less than two weeks. I filed early but needless to say I was shocked. Maybe that was a foul up and the employees have received training to correct the problem. jeff]

Robert Bryce


Let's lend citizen support for the partial Federal tax exemption

Yes, there is something we can do here and now to make our city a better place. As another tax denizen recently noted, our Delegate to Congress is one of those rare individuals from DC officialdom with real credibility. And while I am the first to say that NO taxation should be the ultimate standard so long as we lack representation, Eleanor Holmes Norton has put forward an excellent first step with her proposed partial Federal tax exemption.

Unfortunately, thus far, we the citizens of this fair city have left her twisting and lonely on the issue. If DC residents can't bring themselves to at least ask for it, it is unlikely to even be given serious consideration.

THUS, after conversation with staff at the Delegate's office, I suggest the following actions:

1. Call the House Ways and Means Committee, Bill Archer (R-TX) chairman, and ask for a July hearing date on the proposal. Telephone number 225-3625

2. Call the office of Delegate Norton and indicate your support for the proposal, and would like to be notified (if and) when there is scheduled a hearing date in Ways and Means so you can attend. Telephone 225-8050

3. Contact me to indicate your willingness to personally lobby for a hearing date, or to attend such a hearing. or telephone 483-3373.

Remember, a tax break is just the way to help the city overcome its fiscal morass, and do justice at the same time--by keeping the funds safely in the pockets of citizens, especially but not solely those at the lowest and middle income brackets, unlike an increased federal payment which goes straight into the (up to now) unaccountable machine of the city government.

Randy Wells

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