Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)
Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)

The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute released a report on Jan. 19 revealing the District loses billions of dollars annually due to its lack of statehood status.

The report — “The High Cost of Denying Statehood to the District of Columbia” — reveals the revenue forgone each year hovers around $3.2 billion because the city is denied full taxing authority. The $3.2 billion equates to about one-fifth of the District’s gross fund spending for fiscal year 2021; comes out to be more than three-fifths of what the city spent on human support services; and slightly more than the investment in schools that year. The report comes as the District prepares to celebrate 50 years of the Home Rule Act that gave its residents limited political, legislative and budget autonomy from the federal government.

The report said statehood would bring not only political and civic benefits to the District but also significant fiscal implications. With fewer restrictions and the over $3 billion in potential revenue statehood would offer, the District could take greater steps to minimize economic struggle, end displacement, house residents, guarantee jobs and income, and advance reparative policy in our most neglected communities, according to the report. 

Bo Shuff, the executive director of DC Vote, a pro-statehood advocacy group, agrees fully with the report’s conclusions.

“We at DC Vote have always framed the fight for full freedom as a taxation without representation issue, a right to self-determination issues and a racial justice issue but now, because of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute’s brilliant work, we can add statehood as an economic equality issue,” Shuff said. “The 700,000 tax-paying residents of the District have been calling for full democracy for more than 200 years and as we always say, the question has become more and more a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if.’ This report certainly strengthens that argument.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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