MY VISION FOR WARD 3: ELEVEN NEW LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES

Upon my election, I plan to introduce eleven important pieces of legislation for Ward 3. Here is a summary of each. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on these and other initiatives that are of interest to you.

  1. Fiscal Responsibility Emergency Act of 2007

This legislation will require the Mayor to submit a budget to the Council that increases no more than 5% over the previous year’s approved budget.  The reason I selected a 5% growth cap is because the average income of D.C. residents has risen, on average, between 5% and 6% annually.  I believe the government should spend the money it is given by taxpayers with the same care that our residents do manage their own money.  If District revenues are coming being received in excess of a 5% growth cap, I would return all recurring revenue above 5% to the taxpayers under the Taxpayer Equality Act of 2007.  Any revenue that is not forecast over the four-year financial plan would be dedicated to paying off the District’s high debt per capita.

  1. Taxpayer Equality Act of 2007

This comprehensive tax reform legislation will gradually, over a period of years, lower the District’s taxes on both residents and businesses until they are equal to the taxes in our neighboring jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia.  These tax reductions will be funded out of the additional recurring revenue that the city generates above the 5% spending cap set by the Fiscal Responsibility Emergency Act of 2007.  This legislation will gradually lower taxes in the areas of income, estates, pension income, sales, deeds, and commercial real property to the rates in Maryland and Virginia.  This legislation will also increase the standard deduction and personal exemptions to make them equal to the higher of Maryland or Virginia.

  1. Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2007

The soaring property values in the District of Columbia have forced some small, neighborhood, retail businesses to close their doors because they can no longer afford to pay the soaring property taxes, or, in the case of a small business that is renting space, the rising rents that are caused by the skyrocketing taxes. This legislation will seek to ensure that the many retail businesses that Ward 3 residents enjoy, remain as important fixtures in our community.

  1. Property Tax Relief Act of 2007

This legislation will reduce the growth in an owner-occupied residential property’s taxable assessment to the rate of inflation by tying it to the Consumer Price Index.  This legislation will also lower the residential property calculated rate to 5%.  Thus, if the total residential real property in the District of Columbia increases by more than 5%, residents will see an additional reduction to the tax rate.  This legislation will also add an inflationary increase to the Homestead Deduction so that the value of this tax benefit does not erode over time.  Finally, this legislation will allow for the transferability of the property tax cap if a resident wants to move from one house to another in the District of Columbia.

  1. Condominium Owner Parking Space Equal Treatment Act of 2007

This legislation provides the same 10% cap protection to condominium owners with parking spaces under the property tax cap as is currently given to residents who own a single-family home.  Currently, if you own a single family home in the District of Columbia that may include a driveway or attached parking garage then your parking space is included under the 10% cap.  However, if you are a condominium owner who has parking in the same building, your parking space is not provided the benefit of the tax cap.  I plan to correct this disparity as your Ward 3 Councilmember by introducing this legislation.

  1. District of Columbia Public Schools Management Accountability Act of 2007

This legislation will get to the heart of the problem that has plagued D.C. Public Schools in the areas of curriculum, school facilities, and special education. If a Master Facilities Plan has not been provided to the Council, by January 1, 2007, that lays out a plan for how all public schools will be renovated and excess space will be reduced, then I will include in this legislation a provision that transfers the capital budget of DCPS and the School Modernization funding from DCPS, and places these functions under the supervision of an Office of Construction Management under the Mayor.

I will also require that both DCPS and the Office of the Inspector General produce recommendations to the Council and the Board of Education. The Board of Education will then have until November 1, 2007 to transmit to the Council a plan for a comprehensive District-wide curriculum that will ensure that all public school students will be prepared for college or employment upon graduation and that the District’s special education program will be on the path out of a court mandate. I am not expecting DCPS and the Board of Education turn everything around overnight. However, we need to have a comprehensive strategy in place to get DCPS moving in the right direction as soon as possible.

  1. Whitehurst Freeway Preservation Act of 2007

This legislation would preserve the Whitehurst Freeway until a viable transportation alternative has been presented to the Council.

  1. Living Wage Act of 2007

This legislation will gradually increase worker wages in the District of Columbia up to a minimum, living wage of $12.00 per hour. Increases in wages will occur simultaneously with tax reductions provided to businesses under the Taxpayer Equality Act of 2007.

  1. Workforce Housing Act of 2007

This legislation will provide property tax and first-time homebuyer credits to police officers, teachers, and first responders. For police officers and public school teachers, I think it is incredibly important to encourage these workers to live in the neighborhoods they serve, so they can develop a relationship with the community. For first responders, I believe it is a serious safety problem that many of our first responders live outside of the District of Columbia.

  1. Organ Donation Incentive Act of 2007

This legislation will provide a reduction of $25 from the cost of automobile registrations for residents who sign up to be organ donors.

  1. Movie Theater Truth in Advertising Act of 2007

This legislation will prohibit movie theaters from showing commercial advertisements after the scheduled start-time of a movie. Prohibited commercial advertisements shall not include movie previews and non-profit advertisements.