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Bonds wants tax break for elderly: Councilmember Anita Bonds wants to eliminate property taxes or subsidize rent older residents who have lived in DC for 25 years, be at least 80 years old, and earn less than $150,000. (Examiner)

Sued for blocking development: Some Southwest condo residents filed a landmark application to try to block development in their complex, but a developer threatened a lawsuit, since the condo owners agreed to allow development there when they bought their units. Another group also applied for landmark status. (City Paper)

Evans opposes disclosures: Councilmember Jack Evans (ward 2) wants to delete new rules that force members to file monthly disclosures. Few are in "full compliance" now; David Grosso suggests training could help. (Examiner)

Food truck regs not tasty enough: DC councilmembers don't seem inclined to approve food truck regulations. DCRA will allocate 180 spots for trucks downtown, but truck operators want more concentration in the popular areas. (City Paper)

Arlington may relax rules: Arlington might let food trucks park for more than 2 hours and later at night, but as in DC restaurant owners say trucks' lower costs and no state taxes make competition unfair. (WAMU)

Bike lanes for Hyattsville: Hyattsville will be getting new bike lanes to connect the West Hyattsville Metro to the Arts District and retail on Queens Chapel Road. (Gazette)

And...: The Museum of Natural American History's transportation exhibit is 10 years old and still popular. (Post) ... DC doesn't have many pre-fab homes but one is coming to H Street NE. (PoPville) ... The National Aquarium will close. (DCist)

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Nick Casey is a Project Manager at the Center for American Progress. He and his wife live in Takoma DC. Nick is originally from the west side of Cleveland and attended Denison University. His posts do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer.  

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I'm be delighted to help subsidize old people....if they would agree to get rid of their gun-toting grandkids and entourages.

by charlie on May 13, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

I think we can be a little less inflamatory, and a little more truthful with the headline. SW residents aren't being sued for "blocking development", they are being sued (or will be) for voiding the legally binding contract they signed. Big difference.

As far as the southwest neighborhood assembly, this is just the latest attempt to stymie any and all development or improvements to the area. They preferred it to be the lowly populated run down version of itself that it was 5 years ago. They fought the new Safeway, they fought the renovation of both those buildings in the first place and they fought like Jackals to block the Arena Stage.

by SWDC on May 13, 2013 8:55 am • linkreport

@Food trucks: Yes, they should pay the same taxes as other businesses (as appropriate). But that their costs are otherwise lower is just not an argument. That's competition, something our country is supposed to value. Clearly except when it hurts the incumbent.

@Old folks tax breaks: How could you justify only giving the breaks to those residing here for X years? Wouldn't it have to apply to any resident or none? Years of residence surely would be unduly discriminatory.

by RDHD on May 13, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

@ SWDC:As far as the southwest neighborhood assembly, this is just the latest attempt to stymie any and all development or improvements to the area.

In short: They're just like all other Washingtonians.

Councilmember Anita Bonds wants to eliminate property taxes or subsidize rent older residents

In short, she wants to forgo tax income from elderly people who do not have income anyway. Great idea!

by Jasper on May 13, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

Re: Anita Bonds

She obviously knows who wrote her undeserved ticket for a full term on council. From reading the article, she (nor anyone else) seemingly has no idea how much this will cost. Where did she come up with these numbers ($150K, 25 yrs). At random? I oppose on the principle that everyone should be paying their share. In addition, wouldn't this have a large effect on the baby-boomer generation as they age - would a large proportion of properties suddenly become in-taxable?

This will also distort the housing market, as seniors decide to hold on to homes to take advantage of the tax-relief when they would otherwise sell. This means there will be even less housing coming onto the market, especially in houses that would suit families (multiple bedrooms, etc) that elderly people have raised their own families in and usually sell/downsize as they age.

Will there be a requirement that the seniors LIVE in the home, or just own? I could see many taking advantage and renting out their home but retaining ownership.

Will it be means tested? (I.e. I doubt there are many seniors in upper NW that need this, but would appear to qualify based on age/longevity of residence).

Also: $150K is pretty damn wealthy, or at least much higher than the average DC income. Are we counting just income, or are other assets included? I don't believe anyone making 150K a yr, or even 100K a yr, needs any kind of tax relief.

This idea, as articulated with the numbers proposed, leaves a horrible taste in my mouth, especially b/c it seems very poorly tailored to achieve the underlying goal (I.e. providing relief from the burden of increasing property taxes brought on my decreasing crime/improving qualities of neighborhoods, I.e. gentrification).

Two thumbs down!

by Adam on May 13, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

$150,000 in annual income seems like a lot for DC to be eliminating a tax on your real estate as if you can't afford it.

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

Enough with the special handouts and tax breaks for various favored groups.

by ah on May 13, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

If people have a cash flow problem, could DC just defer those property taxes as a lien or a loan, paid upon sale of the property or transferring to an heir? Assuming you're 80 years old, you're not going to be holding on to the property forever.

This whole "old people are being taxed out of their homes" argument led to big problems for California (Prop 13) when they overreacted.

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2013 9:10 am • linkreport

That didn't take long for Bonds. What a joke. She certainly knows who elected her... This is what you get when you split votes.

So if I had an 81 year old neighbor who bought her rowhouse for $33,000 in 1971, who know makes $140,000 in Dividends and Capital gains, my family, who bought in 2010 gets to subsidize her real estate tax. Great.

@Adam

Totally agree. There is little reason we should be encouraging 85 year old widowers to attempt to maintain a large home in 16th street heights. Policies should be such that they are able to make the decisions that are best for them, and not just going to save them a few thousand a year in real estate taxes.

The cost of this is immeasurable. Instead of a family of four (with two tax payers) living in that house, we have an 85 year old lady who would otherwise move but hangs around because the place is free.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 9:11 am • linkreport

@RDHD

Ok, well if we are charging them the same taxes "as appropriate", then a BID tax is and has been a no brainer. The fact that all the brick and mortars pay to empty the overflowing trashcans in the area the trucks set up in, and have roving teams of people (that they again pay for) walking the sidewalks and park(s) picking up their trash is unfair.

Lastly, "competition" is generally good, unless it is clearly one sided and DC doesn't get anything out of it. Nearly 70% of the trucks that operate in the District, aren't District based residents. They live in VA, MD, (NY even..). They come to DC for the day trash the place while not employing any District residents, take business from those who do, and pay property and income tax, and take their profits home to VA or MD to be taxed there.

Then you have the fact that only 34% of the jobs in the District are actually filled by District employees, the rest commute in. So what we have are out of town businesses, selling to out (profiting from) of town workers at the expense of local businesses.

Unless MD or VA want to back down on their long time stance of not allowing the District to collect a comutter tax from their residents, then they can "stuff it" when it comes to being gracious and accomodating to their businesses.

by foodtrucks on May 13, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

The Transportation exhibit is at the Museum of American History, not Natural History. Don't think transportation is inherently a product of Mother Nature.

by Adam S on May 13, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

Does the District really cut real estate taxes by 50% for owners over 65, as the Examiner article asserts?

This does sound like a good way to encourage adult children to stay in their parents homes, if that is the goal.

by JimT on May 13, 2013 9:16 am • linkreport

A tax deduction for people earning up to 150K over 80 who have lived in DC for 25 years is scary.

It will never pass since it makes no sense.

But its scary because it shows how an unscrupulous Anita Bonds is trying to win support from a constituency by proposing foolish legislation.

And Jack Evans jumps right in to support the idea....

If you are over 80 you probably don't have as many expenses as younger people. You probably don't work so all the commuting and job related expense don't exist. You probably don't have young kids to take care of and you also get subsidized medical care and Social Security. You probably are not even saving for retirement since you are already retired. This is irresponsible pandering. Bonds and Evans should be embarrassed.

On top of that offering special tax relief for people just because they have lived in DC for 25 years is some of the most unfair tax policy I can think of. And I say this as a lifelong DC resident and homeowner.

When local politicians start doling out money based on how long people have lived in a city its time to get some new politicians.

by turtleshell on May 13, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

@jimT:

"Senior Citizen or Disabled Property Owner Tax Relief
If you are 65 years of age or older, or are disabled, you may file an application immediately for disabled or senior citizen property tax relief. This benefit reduces your property tax by 50 percent. You must own 50 percent or more of the property or cooperative unit and the total federal adjusted gross income of everyone living in the property must be less than $100,000."

Yep, it is a major problem.

The disabled thing is just as bad. Exatctly why we do want more people like that living here tax free?

by charlie on May 13, 2013 9:24 am • linkreport

If the problem is that food trucks don't pay for problems they cause (like trash, whatever) then isn't the solution to charge them to fix those issues. I don't see how limiting where they operate solves those problems.

Meanwhile, hard for me (especially as a va. resident who works in va) to accept the whole "they aren't even residents!" argument.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

1. A loan to repaid on the transfer of the property by sale or inheritiance makes more sense

2. OTOH something that defangs NIMBYISM might be worth it. Sure, houses will flip more slowly, but it could take the wind out of some opposition to neighborhood improvements and amenities

3. And really, people over 80, its only going to delay the flipping a few years mostly

4. 150k does sound rather high though. Make it 100k, or 80k.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

I don't really mind the property tax break for people over 65. DC property taxes are already low, and the tax system revolves around optimizing life for low-income people who own their homes. That's fine; it's a decision we made.

But Anita Bonds is making a fool of herself right off the bad, in her first act since being re-elected. Her proposal is a ridiculous idea.

by JustMe on May 13, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

Is Ms. Bonds bad at math? (It's in fashion this week). Couldn't she better accomplish her goal by simply freezing assessments for residents above 65?

by JimT on May 13, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

@Drumz
"Meanwhile, hard for me (especially as a va. resident who works in va) to accept the whole "they aren't even residents!" argument"

Why is it hard to accept?

188,000 of your fellow VA residents commute into DC every day, make a hell of a living, then take it all home to be taxed there. I don't blame VA residents for getting jobs over DC residents, but I do blame VA (and MD) for being the proverbial pricks in fighting DC tooth and nail about a measely 0.25% comuter income tax. Your Congressman using the decades long excuse of "well, our residents contribute by buying lunch in town) as the reason to block DC's comutter tax time and time again, as if they was enough to pay for the infrasture costs of having you work here.

Well, now you have a fleet of VA food trucks coming to town, diluting business from the brick and mortars who you park in front of, make your profits for the day from your VA and MD residents, then take that home too. Whatever miniscule fiscal benefit existed before, is disappearing.

Do you really not see the issue?

by foodtrucks on May 13, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

The $150K limit is laughable, reminds me of news articles about people who complain, "well after we pay for private school for the kids and the two luxury cars and the million dollar house, there really just isn't that much of our $500K income left for us!"

by MLD on May 13, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

@AWITC

Make it $35,000 or something. These people own their homes outright. The idea that we should be subsidizing an 80 year old with $80,000 in yearly income is almost as absurd as one with $150,000.

This is terrible policy, and hopefully it goes where it should. The waste-can.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

Drop Bonds's proposal down to $50,000 and I'm all in favor of it.

by Simon on May 13, 2013 9:48 am • linkreport

@MLD; it is laughable but designed to get jack evans to sign on to it.

I'd be very suprised if there is single person over 80 making 150K or more in Wards 4,5, 7 and 8. Ward 2 and 3, however, have plenty.

So, with the returning exemption on muni bond income, you can invest in bonds, earn less than 150K ,and pay no income or property tax.

by charlie on May 13, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

@Adam- Bonds wasn't elected to a full term but to a special term ending in 18 months. She'll have a Democratic primary less than a year from now.

Really- Age 80? As Bonds says, she wouldn't do anything that actually means something. Adjusting property tax increase maximums, homestead exclusion and pension exclusion amounts is meaningful and important to many more people.

by Tom Coumaris on May 13, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

@Adam S: Don't think transportation is inherently a product of Mother Nature.

Oh, poo. What's the matter - never heard of Streetcar #11?

(This has been your obscure eastern bloc reference for the morning.)

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on May 13, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

AWitC: something that defangs NIMBYISM might be worth it. Sure, houses will flip more slowly...

I do not see how this will defang nimbyism. If anything, by retaining older, more involved residents resistant to change, it will enable and embolden it.

by goldfish on May 13, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

Goldfish

If one thinks they are resistant to change, in large part because they fear rising assessments will force them to sell (and so keep them from enjoying the benefits of improvements), it might make them less resistant to change.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

news flash...the elderly credit is already being abused by folks living in grandma's house and claiming the credit while Granny is not living there our dead...ripe for abuse...what a joke...enough hand outs already...we are still cleaning up the mess the prior 6 generations left the city in

by Joe on May 13, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

@@AWitC: I do not get the sense from older residents, that they oppose this or that project because it will increase their taxes. Normally opposition is based on quality of life issues, such as traffic and noise.

by goldfish on May 13, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

Well, I'm not opposed to a commuter tax in the first place.

But in terms of the food trucks. If the problem is they are exploiting a loop hole then close the loop hole.

But deciding on a cap on the number allowed to operate wouldn't fix that. And hurt the trucks owned by DC residents equally as well.

I see the issue fine, it's the restaurant association and DCRA having the trouble apparently.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

@foodtrucks
1. You assume that the people who own brick-and-mortar lunch places in DC are DC residents; I would expect that they are district residents in similar proportion to the rest of the entrepreneur class like food truck owners. Has RAMW put together anything about who owners of businesses are?

2. I work around Farragut Square and rarely visit the food trucks; I would say just from my observations at brick-and-mortar places that the food trucks are not leaving these businesses empty. And I have seen little in terms of concrete stories about the effects on brick-and-mortar businesses, only grumblings.

3. The food truck issue has nothing to do with "they won't allow us to have a commuter tax."

by MLD on May 13, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

Re Anita Bonds

- How exactly can someone prove that they have lived in the District for 25 years? Must they have lived in the District for 25 years without ever having left? Seems like this would be difficult to carry out

- Why? Is there some evidence that residents who are at least 80 years old and have lived in the District for 25 years or more and make $150k or less are struggling to live here? Or are we just paying more taxes so that our Council can continue to dole out favors to her friends?

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

Regarding the food trucks, I would like DDOT to find a way to allow the trucks to plug-in while parked and use electricity instead of the diesel generators for six or more hours per day. I enjoy getting lunch from the trucks but every day there are a dozen trucks in any particular location, running their generators for several hours per day. Last summer, the World Health Organization declared diesel a carcinogen.

by 202_cyclist on May 13, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

@ foodtrucks (the commenter): That's what I meant by apppropriate. If they impose costs like use of trash cans, etc. as you cite, they should help pay for those.

But the argument from bricks and mortar restaurants that food trucks face lower costs is generally used in the sense that the trucks don't pay property taxes or have the high amounts of overhead. Tough. They found a cheaper way to run. That's competition.

by RDHD on May 13, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

@ 202_cyclist; I'm with you on this, but they are using gas powered generators -- a lot of small hondas and others.

Altenatlviey, ban generators during code orange days.

I think the food truck association could have gotten a 220v hook up -- just like a marine one -- installed in Farrgut for the amount they are spending on lobbying.

by charlie on May 13, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

I think if DCRA or the BIDs or whoever want to come in and make the case that there are a few places that are overcrowded (Farragut Square) and need to limit the number of food trucks then that seems reasonable. Also if the BIDs want to show increased expenses from trash pickup and have food trucks pay a fee for it that seems reasonable.

But so far the proposed rules just seem arbitrary and presented without explanation of need.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

Income will need to be defined. If it's your standard W-2 income, I would assume virtually every senior would qualify. Is social security defined as income?

Long-time resident is a code word, and I fear we'll be seeing more legislation along these lines as the prospect of a white mayor becomes more of a reality.

by Andy on May 13, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

@charlie:

I inquired with DDOT about this and the reason I was given that they don't have this is that it would require DDOT telling the trucks that they need to park in certain spots. It sounds like this is what DCRA is requiring, however. The electrical hook-ups for food trucks could also be used to charge electric vehicles (San Diego's Car2Go fleet is entirely electic) when not used by food trucks.

Additionally, the truck operators themselves would likely favor this, as electricity is probably cheaper than $4 per gallon gas.

by 202_cyclist on May 13, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

Propane generators have 80% less emissions of particulate matter.

by JimT on May 13, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

@202_cyclist; the car connection would be brilliant. That being said, my understanding is there ins't a standard connection yet.

And the big barrier is NPS.

Some of the trucks appear to be using propane as well.

I think it would be pretty easy to montior particulate pollution when there is food truck part -- free tip to the local buiness district!

by charlie on May 13, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

Is there any legal precedent for offering tax breaks to longtime residents? I'd have to imagine that Congress might want to execute its veto powers if that law gets anywhere close to passage.

And, really, what problem is Bonds' plan trying to solve? I wholeheartedly agree that we should be supporting our Seniors, but this particular proposal is a complete headscratcher.

It also seems a bit unfair that we give tax breaks to homeowners over 65, but not renters. The tax code already gives more than a few (imo, unfair) advantages to homeowners, and this just seems like a really unfair place to do it.

by andrew on May 13, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

@ foodtruck:188,000 of your fellow VA residents commute into DC every day, make a hell of a living, then take it all home to be taxed there.

And why wouldn't we?

Where were the DC applicants for my job? I can pretty much guarantee you that no single DC resident has ever applied for any of the 3.5 jobs that I now have had in DC.

The fact is that the DC economy would collapse if it had to be done by DC residents. Simple fact is that the DC education system does not yield the number of degree holding job seekers that are needed to get the job done in DC.

One third of Washingtonians is functionally illiterate.

This in a job markets where the largest employers are the federal administration with all its lawyers, lobbyists; embassies and academic institutions. Meanwhile, living close to those employers is pretty much unaffordable on the salaries made by the grunt of people. So, they live where they can afford to.

So, you're welcome. I am happy to keep your city alive.

by Jasper on May 13, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

The food truck lottery is just plain silly. The spaces they inhabit should be auctioned off to the highest bidding food truck(or any business that wants to operate out of a truck). That takes care of property taxes and that should be enough.

50% off property taxes is already incredibly good, I don't think seniors need any assistance to live in the city, but they certainly don't need 100% subsidy. If anything it should be a flat subsidy, like $1000 which would cover senior who live in efficient housing in inexpensive areas while not helping those who chose to live in ultra high demand expensive areas with houses that are too large for them.

by Richard Bourne on May 13, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

@Jasper

That is a bit absurd. I am trying to picture what exactly you do that a DC resident couldn't do. I agree, without MD and VA, the DC economy would certainly collapse, but to guarantee that no DC resident has ever applied for a job you had... What do you do?

1/3 are functionally illiterate. The other 2/3 are often some of the most educated people in America.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

@andrew: And, really, what problem is Bonds' plan trying to solve?

...to get re-elected. These are the people that voted for her.

by goldfish on May 13, 2013 11:00 am • linkreport

This in a job markets where the largest employers are the federal administration with all its lawyers, lobbyists; embassies and academic institutions. Meanwhile, living close to those employers is pretty much unaffordable on the salaries made by the grunt of people.

I would not really agree.

First, just take a quick look at the region's income data. Most of the region's wealth is concentrated in the suburbs, so that kinda belies the notion that suburbs are for people who can't afford to live in the city.

Then, take a look at the typical median household income of workers of these industries (which are actually not directly employed by the federal administration in most cases, but rather, by private firms) compared against the median cost of living for a market rate 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom apartment in the city. These housing units are affordable, but people would rather spend an hour a day sitting in traffic and come home to a big yard and a decent school district than live in the city.

That's just the mentality of most big American metro areas. It's not a question of what's affordable, it's a question of lifestyle choices. If they wanted to live closer, they could, but have chosen not to.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

@Richard Bourne

This seems to be a huge giveaway to the wealthiest people in our city. This will help the average 80 year old in Petworth by saving them about $800 a year. My current bill in Petworth is ~$1600, so they would be paying $800 as it stands. However, an 80 year old who lives in Cleveland Park is probably saving $5,000 a year.

That (among many other issues) is what is so pathetic about this. She is pandering to the people who elected her, but the people who are going to benefit most from this, would not have voted for Bonds to save their life.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

Push the income limit for grandma down, and it makes sense. These houses grandma and grandpa worked so hard to own now are being passed at old age or death to the next generation and are being lost from established families due to tax arrears and limited earnings of younger family members. Doing this helps limit the heartburn of gentrification and helps keep communities intact. Bright young things moving in and taking old Mrs. whatever's house after she lost it because of the taxes only breed resentment.

The pro-urbanist folks should propose the alternative that would limit its misuse by those with overly high incomes. This is for a grandmother whose home in a growing real estate market is her main asset, not for some Gold Coast lawyer or doctor to pass on the family foursquare to the next generation of lawyers or doctors without DC taxes.

by andy on May 13, 2013 11:11 am • linkreport

Your Congressman using the decades long excuse of "well, our residents contribute by buying lunch in town) as the reason to block DC's comutter tax time and time again, as if they was enough to pay for the infrasture costs of having you work here.

The infrastructure required for folks to work in DC is paid for by employers through property, income taxes and/or other taxes and fees. If employers aren't paying enough to cover the infrastructure costs they generate, then raise their taxes.

by Falls Church on May 13, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

"That didn't take long for Bonds. What a joke. She certainly knows who elected her... This is what you get when you split votes."
-----
And it didn't long for the racism and selfishness to get expressed by the sore losers.

The amount of people who would qualify is very small - a relative handful of the long-term residents who haven't yet been chased out.

In any event, not to worry. given the windfall from the traffic cameras (which function as DC's de-facto commuter tax) and the parking fines, plus DC's surplus, there will be plenty of money for streetcars, bike lanes, subsidized bike sharing, doggie parks, and whatever else the newcomers consider to be a priority.

(RE: The CAPTCHA - Minnesota Ave doesn't follow Stadium Armory outbound on the full-time Orange Line? Wow! Thanks for clearing that one up).

by ceefer on May 13, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

While rising costs hurt the long term retired, it also hurts others. Why should the elderly get the special break?70% of the wealth in this country is held by retirees.
I don't want to see DC going down the path that California did, making it harder for younger families.

by SJE on May 13, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

there will be plenty of money for streetcars, bike lanes, subsidized bike sharing, doggie parks, and whatever else the newcomers consider to be a priority.

What the city spends on all those projects combined does not really come close to one year of funding for social services for the poor. What's more, all those projects are being paid for mostly by the people who are using them, i.e. medium to high income taxpayers. #themoreyouknow

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

@foodtrucks

Also worth pointing out that many food trucks are becoming brick-and-mortar places - off the top of my head, I can think of District Taco, Mothership, Kangaroo Boxing Club, and the Hot People truck apparently just got a place in Georgetown.

Add to that are a number that also have a brick-and-mortar home such as BONMi, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Pepe, and SUNdeVICH, again off the top of my head.

These aren't people just jetting in and out, many of them are running businesses in DC, and many use the trucks as a transition to opening a restaurant. There's a lot of crossover between the groups involved.

by TheBlueSweater on May 13, 2013 11:29 am • linkreport

@Ceefer

That is rich of you to consider my desire to not subsidize people who own their homes outright and make $140,000 a year selfish.

All the while you constantly rail about traffic cameras, and your desire to drive whatever speed you like with impunity.

The irony in that one drips deeply.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

And it didn't long for the racism and selfishness to get expressed by the sore losers.

So, had Silverman won would you be okay with tax breaks based on your number of twitter followers? To the victor go the spoils, right?

by Falls Church on May 13, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

Between the homestead exemption and the existing break for over-65s, there's pretty much no homeowner in the city who loses their home due to property taxes. It's a total non-issue.

The rent thing might be of some value, but supposedly that's what the city's rent-control laws are for.

So what we're really talking about is older residents who live in very expensive homes and have less than $150k per year in "earnings"--which for a retiree who owns their home, and whose income is investment income, boils down to living expenses.

This is a classic strategy of lavishing perks on the wealthy while convincing poor, low-information voters that they're getting a deal. No wonder Evans is so keen on it.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

This is a classic strategy of lavishing perks on the wealthy while convincing poor, low-information voters that they're getting a deal.

This on top of the strategy of lavishing perks on your constituents at the expense of the people who did not vote for you.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

One third of Washingtonians is functionally illiterate.

This in a job markets where the largest employers are the federal administration with all its lawyers, lobbyists; embassies and academic institutions. Meanwhile, living close to those employers is pretty much unaffordable on the salaries made by the grunt of people. So, they live where they can afford to.

So, you're welcome. I am happy to keep your city alive.

Funny, you have a society that enacts policies to pen the poor up in a tiny geographic area, then segregates itself economically from that area so it needn't bother itself with the consequences of its policies. Then it pats itself on the back for noticing that the poor people in that geographical/political area are poor and uneducated with few prospects, whereas the hard-working middle-class privileged folks have income and education.

I'm sure the white folks who lived outside of Soweto were equally self-congratulatory.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

These houses grandma and grandpa worked so hard to own now are being passed at old age or death to the next generation and are being lost from established families due to tax arrears and limited earnings of younger family members.

Actually, no, the phenomenon works something like this:

Grandma and grandpa worked hard and bought a house. They had and raised 4 kids. Those kids grew up, and moved out of the house. (That's the usual case, at least. It's also pretty common for one of those kids to "fail to launch" and come back to lie with mom and dad, but leave that for now.)

Time passes, and now grandma and grandpa own the house. Then they die. What causes that house to be sold? Is it tax arrears or "limited earning of children"? No, it's the fact that you can't have four children inherit a single house. So it goes up for sale, and the proceeds get split among the children.

The easy way to avoid this is to have a will that leaves the house to one of the kids, but then in a situation where the only thing of value in the estate is often the house, the other kids get nothing.

This plan would do absolutely nothing to keep the house in "the family" because it doesn't address the underlying problem of splitting a house among 2 or more children.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

so is there any data on how many people the property tax elimination will effect? Presumably thats needed to determine the revenue impact? Presumably the data would make it possible to see how much of the revenue will be lost on households earning at various levels?

I think the logical target for this are seniors with relatively low incomes (okay below 80k. 50 or 35k or whatever) who bought in cheap areas years ago, and now have houses worth 400 to 500k, unrenovated. Im not sure how many there are. Or how many of such people are selling due to property tax pressure, or if thats impacting local nimbyism. It also does seem like a property tax freeze for such folks, or a loan, or some combination, could work. I presume those alternatives will come up as this advances. if it does at all.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

@Oboe

That is exactly how we got our house. The children of the woman who passed had zero interest in living in DC, and were happy that the house was going to be occupied again and have kids in it again at some point. Such is the life cycle of houses in DC.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

@Kyle-W

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

I wonder what the fuss would be if this was a newly-elected white Councilmember advocating a tax break for the benefit of a mostly-white demographic.

Look, we're talking about people who will be required to show proof of 25 years or more residency and an income below $150K. No one gave them their homes. They bought their homes and paid them off. And the fact that hipsters are now willing and able to pay ridiculous prices for the house next door just to be trendy shouldn't cause them to have an unaffordable tax bill and be forced to move.

These are the people who lived in the District for decades before it was trendy and paid taxes to hold it together while the parents of those who now think they've "saved" DC stayed away and told horror stories about DC crime and amused themselves with Marion Barry jokes.

And yes, snide comments about "getting rid of gun-toting grandkids and entourages" and Bonds "not taking long" to
"know who wrote her undeserved ticket for a full term" ARE in fact racist.

No, you didn't say all of that but you haven't called out anyone who did.

by ceefer on May 13, 2013 12:11 pm • linkreport

Is there any legal precedent for offering tax breaks to longtime residents? I'd have to imagine that Congress might want to execute its veto powers if that law gets anywhere close to passage.

It's not clear this would pass constitutional scrutiny, and such residency requirements are regarded with suspicion.

Here's a summary of some law in the area. The one that pops out at me is the Alaska oil fund, which was allocated based on length of residency, and failed for lack of reason for the distinctions.

http://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-14/96-right-to-travel.html

by ah on May 13, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

I can't say that I'm surprised by Bonds. At the very least it will get people to vote next time, since now they will have something to vote against.

by aaa on May 13, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

25 yrs residency in DC, or in their house? Im assuming this is really aimed at the latter, which would pass constitutional scrutiny.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

The tax bill is 0.85% of the value of the house per year. Even if we let someone who's 80 borrow the money every year and have it as a lien against the property, the most the property could potentially be in debt to the government is 16% or so (assuming an 80 year old can live to 100?). And that's after paying virtually nothing in tax for two decades.

It's even less if you consider the half-off that people over 65 get.

Is there a big part of retired DC that's being forced out of their homes due to not being able to pay 0.4% of the house value in property tax?

by Michael Perkins on May 13, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

That is exactly how we got our house. The children of the woman who passed had zero interest in living in DC, and were happy that the house was going to be occupied again and have kids in it again at some point. Such is the life cycle of houses in DC.

And not just DC. My parents live in a house in the suburbs, and when they go, the chances of any of their children moving in are pretty much nil. Of course, there's no political hay to be made over the loss of the "established family"--and there's no organized political movement to "keep Rockville white"--so the transition will go unlamented.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

How is it racist to say that Bonds is pandering to the people who elected her? This is simply the truth. This bill helps people who have lived in DC for over 25 years.

She got the overwhelming majority of the black vote. Fact again. A larger percentage of 25 plus year residents voted for Bonds than the population as a whole did. This is certainly not racism on any level. Racism would be saying that these people don't deserve a tax break because of their skin-color. I am saying they don't deserve a tax break because there is no reason to give them one.

The fact you are unable to understand this does not surprise me, much like you refuse to comprehend concepts like induced demand when you comment on articles on the Post.

Sure, the guy who mentioned "getting rid of gun-toting grandkids and entourages" was likely out of line. I respond to people who bring up issues, not simply use one-liners to score cheap points.

She certainly was underserving of a full term. Thats not being racist, its simply being honest. Much like Evans and Graham are undeserving of re-election. There are terrible politicians of all colors in this fine city.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

[T]he fact that hipsters are now willing and able to pay ridiculous prices for the house next door just to be trendy shouldn't cause them to have an unaffordable tax bill and be forced to move.

This never actually happens; it's basically an artificial outrage machine to give uninformed people something to rail against.

DC has "existing tax exemption for seniors, which allows residents who are at least 65 years old to claim a 50 percent reduction on their real property tax bills." It's got a Homestead Deduction which reduces the assessable value by $69000, and limits increases by 10% per annum.

If someone is losing their house because of property taxes in 2013 it's because they can't afford to pay property taxes as assessed in 1980. Not because property taxes have gone up due to middle-class residents with jobs (or as you put it "hipsters") moving into the city.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

The rent thing might be of some value, but supposedly that's what the city's rent-control laws are for.

Rent Control does not exist in any meaningful form for new tenants in DC.

I'm not theoretically against the idea that we could make small concessions to allow families to pass a house down through generations. However, rent control and similar laws have historically had a tendency to go completely off the rails, and distort the real estate market into an expensive mess.

We really don't want to recreate the economics that led to New York City's housing market becoming so messed up.

by andrew on May 13, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

And the fact that hipsters are now willing and able to pay ridiculous prices for the house next door just to be trendy shouldn't cause them to have an unaffordable tax bill and be forced to move.

If only there was some law that helped keep property tax rates low for people who were already in the neighborhood before the boom.

http://app.cfo.dc.gov/services/tax/property/2.shtm

Meanwhile, are we really going to blame people that were kids during DC's bad times for ruining the city now for having the gall to buy a house in town now?

by drumz on May 13, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

Jasper must be incredibly brilliant and talented to hold a job that few,if any DC residents are qualified to hold or even apply for. As a moronic and poorly educated DC resident, basic research is tough for me. So I will go the anecdotal route: I know dozens of DC residents who are very well educated and hold down very demanding jobs. Indeed, I would go so far as to label some of them brilliant. So Jasper must really be in a class of his own.

However, I appreciate Jasper pointing how just how kind and generous suburbanites are towards DC. DC residents should be ashamed for not being more thankful for the unparalleled magnanimity that suburban commuters shower on our fair city.

by rg on May 13, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

And the fact that hipsters are now willing and able to pay ridiculous prices for the house next door just to be trendy shouldn't cause them to have an unaffordable tax bill and be forced to move.

Well, the Distrct already provides property tax relief for seniors 65 or older with AGI <$100k, and then there is the homestead deduction, and then there is the fact that on a percentage basis, property taxes in DC are lower than in Maryland and Virginia. So I think one ought to really question the argument put forth by some folks that DC is teeming with seniors "forced" to move out because of an unaffordable tax bill.

More likely the city is teeming with seniors who bought and paid for their homes a few decades ago (or more) and are now living in properties worth 5-10 times what they paid for them. Now Ms Bonds wants to throw more tax relief on the pile as a kind of "reparation" for people who had to live through DC's crappiest years despite the city's return on investment for such relief being virtually nil.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

Rent Control does not exist in any meaningful form for new tenants in DC.

Well, of course it doesn't. That's not how rent control works. It covers people who are long-term renters.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

every major city in the USA has suburban commuters. Its unlikely that not having them would be functional for DC. Whether property taxes are adequate compensation for costs related to commuters is debatable. Some other cities have commuter taxes, DC does not. Thats a long debate. But it seems that making policy on food trucks vs brick and mortar restaurants based on residency of ownership is probably misguided on several levels.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

Meanwhile, are we really going to blame people that were kids during DC's bad times for ruining the city now for having the gall to buy a house in town now?

Sure! Why not. It's very similar to the influx of los inconformistas who have driven up housing prices in the Rockville suburbs. Won't someone think of the "real" Rockville residents who bought for $50k in 1976, and have seen their home prices mercilessly rise for three decades, with them powerless to stop it???

by oboe on May 13, 2013 12:40 pm • linkreport

I don't know about anyone else, but the SW waterfront is a sad state of affairs. It should be prime real estate, the most happening part of the the city, similar to other cities around the country. There is so much potential there. Instead it's a bland, bleak looking area surrounded by 1950s low income housing, some decrepit looking hotels that I would never go in, and really no entertainment options that make places like Baltimore or Boston fun to go to. I really hope someday that whole area gets completely redeveloped.

by Nickyp on May 13, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

25 yrs residency in DC, or in their house? Im assuming this is really aimed at the latter, which would pass constitutional scrutiny.

It may be aimed at the latter, but then it doesn't do much for renters who may have moved around with greater frequency.

by ah on May 13, 2013 12:53 pm • linkreport

@ kyle-w:I am trying to picture what exactly you do that a DC resident couldn't do.
@ rg:...must be incredibly brilliant and talented to hold a job that few,if any DC residents are qualified to hold or even apply for.

I didn't say they could not do it. I said they didn't apply. Read what I said, not what you hoped I would say. As an immigrant, my employer had to show DOL that there was no qualified American for my job.

@ Scoot:It's not a question of what's affordable, it's a question of lifestyle choices.

That is the same as what is affordable. But tell me, where does a GU/GW/AU university employee live close to work? Where does a State Dept, EPA medium level employee live close to work? Where does an NGO staffer love close to work? Where does a K-St secretary live close to work?

@ oboe:Funny, you have a society that enacts policies to pen the poor up in a tiny geographic area, then segregates itself economically from that area so it needn't bother itself with the consequences of its policies. Then it pats itself on the back...

Sorry. I am not from this country. I don't get to vote here. Don't blame me for your failed policies.

To summarize: My point is not that I don't want to live closer to work, or that tax policy in this area is perfect. It is not.

My point is that I do not want to be seen as a thief stealing a job in DC. If you want my job, you should have applied for it. The ad was online for months. And the same goes for all the other jobs that Marylanders and Virginians have. Apply, be qualified and get the job. Stop whining about competition.

by Jasper on May 13, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

Laws that reward people for staying the same house lead to very inefficient outcomes, like having grandma occupy a 4 bedroom house long after the kids have left. My wife's uncle bought a house in San Jose California in the early 60s, when it was orange groves and he was working on early chip design. After the kids left he won't move because he would lose all sorts of tax breaks.

by SJE on May 13, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

I really hope someday that whole area gets completely redeveloped.

Ask, and ye shall receive:

Located at 690 Water Street, SW, Washington DC, The Wharf is a $1.5 billion mixed-use waterfront redevelopment located on the historic Washington Channel.

http://www.swdcwaterfront.com/

by Potowmack on May 13, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

Jasper,

Perhaps if you would actually read the post, you would have seen the very next sentence :

" I don't blame VA residents for getting jobs over DC residents, but I do blame VA (and MD) for being the proverbial pricks in fighting DC tooth and nail about a measely 0.25% comuter income tax."

@Blluesweater,

So you have 4 out of the 200 currently registered in DC open food trucks, wow...and three of them were already DC based food trucks. Not exactly overwhelming evidence of anything.

by foodtrucks on May 13, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

That is the same as what is affordable. But tell me, where does a GU/GW/AU university employee live close to work? Where does a State Dept, EPA medium level employee live close to work? Where does an NGO staffer love close to work? Where does a K-St secretary live close to work?

I know many such employees of those organizations who live close to those areas. Can one afford to own a large 4 bedroom house close by on a single household income at those organizations? Should the government interfere so that everyone who wants a 4 bedroom house can afford one?

Question - where does the janitor at the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax live? Where does the TSA employee at Dulles Airport live? Where does the security guard at Versace in Tysons Galleria live? It seems like we can expand this "affordability" argument far outside the District's bounds.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Median household income in the city is a little over 60k. That seems fair to give people below that and perhaps over the age of 65 comprehensive property tax relief. I don't see how you can justify giving the top 50% of the city who also own a home tax relief. That's like crazy backwards world. People over 80 should be able to defer taxes or maybe have some kind of lien put on the property until the owner and any spouse dies or otherwise ends ownership. Transparent and lowly pandering to a base...

by Alan B. on May 13, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

there will be plenty of money for streetcars, bike lanes, subsidized bike sharing, doggie parks, and whatever else the newcomers consider to be a priority.

What the city spends on all those projects combined does not really come close to one year of funding for social services for the poor. What's more, all those projects are being paid for mostly by the people who are using them, i.e. medium to high income taxpayers. #themoreyouknow
--------

If that was true, streetcars wouldn't need operating subsidies and bike lanes would be tolled.

"the more you know", indeed.

by ceefer on May 13, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

Also I dont see how race is remotely relevant. Clearly the majority of beneficiaries would old, rich white people (lawers, lobbyists, etc etc) plus a few old rich black people. And anyone who doesn't think there are lots of old rich white people in DC has spent zero time west of Rock Creek or in Cap Hill.

by Alan B. on May 13, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

If that was true, streetcars wouldn't need operating subsidies and bike lanes would be tolled.

Odd. Seems to me that medium to high income taxpayers pay for the roads too, and yet every road is not a toll road and roads get subsidies--in fact, that's how the taxpayers pay for them, largely.

Why the strange double-standard? Curiouser and curiouser...

by oboe on May 13, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

Another thought: what about property sales tax relief (reduced or deferred etc) for older residents that DO want to sell? That would free up mostly larger units owned for families that want them but cant find any and provide older residents with more money to downsize, move, etc if they want. I know when my grandad died my grandmother sold up and moved into a retirement home near my aunt and uncle because she could get medical care there which is going to be a concern for the 80+ crowd.

by Alan B. on May 13, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

If that was true, streetcars wouldn't need operating subsidies and bike lanes would be tolled.

"the more you know", indeed.
Bike lanes and streetcars are paid for by tax dollars and most tax income in this city is derived from middle to wealthy income households. Even if the tax dollars to fund federal transportation grants are derived mostly from middle to wealthy income households. That's how our progressive tax income works. So I have to kind of chuckle at the argument that the poor or working class people of this city are paying for bike lanes, dog parks, streetcars etc.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 1:41 pm • linkreport

I haven't read all the comments, and I imagine this is redundant of several other posters, but I still have to say it:

Leaving aside for a second whether the phenomenon of elderly homeowners being forced to move because of out-of-control taxes, why on EARTH should the city subsidize the living expenses of seniors who make $140,000 per year? That's beyond absurd. If someone who makes that kind of money as a retiree, who doesn't have to support minor children, save for retirement, etc. can't afford their property taxes, I really don't know what to say. There are plenty of families who make less than that, and support kids, save for their own retirement, and manage to pay their own property taxes. Hell, when I'm doing my own retirement planning, I shoot for about $140,000 in annual retirement income. I never knew there would be aid available, too.

This is not to say that this would be good policy if the income levels were rational. The city is not an airline with frequent flier plans or longevity incentives. There's no bonus for making it to 80.

by dcd on May 13, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

why on EARTH should the city subsidize the living expenses of seniors who make $140,000 per year

Duh, because hipsters!

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

@Adam S. -- [I] Don't think transportation is inherently a product of Mother Nature.

Yes it is. Walking is transportation.

by Tina on May 13, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

Jasper,

Whatever the specific details of your job and your situation, my point is that your low opinion of DC residents could not have been more obvious:

One third of Washingtonians is functionally illiterate. So, you're welcome. I am happy to keep your city alive.

Make sweeping, negative and smug generalizations like that about 630,000 people and you are bound to draw some reaction. BTW, speaking of literacy, I think you meant one-third of Washingtonians are functionally illiterate.

by rg on May 13, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

@ foodtruck:Perhaps if you would actually read the post, you would have seen the very next sentence

I did read that phrase. Why wouldn't VAns and MDers fight an extra tax? What is your point?

@ Scoot:Can one afford to own a large 4 bedroom house close by on a single household income at those organizations

Not all houses in the suburbs are large 4 bedroom houses.

Question - where does the janitor at the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax live? Where does the TSA employee at Dulles Airport live?

Annadale? Leesburg? Ashburn?

It seems like we can expand this "affordability" argument far outside the District's bounds.

True. But Virginians are not trying to tax Washingtonians for the (supposed) privilege of working in their state.

by Jasper on May 13, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-w ,

Interesting that you would set up a strawman argument about my opinion of speed cameras to distract from being called out for your selfishness.

Fact is, the comments I'm speaking about - and your response to comments - serve to re-enforce the stereotype of newcomers being arrogant, entitled, incapable of empathy, and myopic.

Perhaps if you spent a little time around people who look and think a little differently from yourself you would see where I'm coming from.

As it is, I find it impossible to understand how people who live in a city - and claim to embrace city life - can be so narrow-minded and selfish.

by ceefer on May 13, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

@ceefer

Good lord, you must be Courtland Milloy. It all makes sense now!

Speaking as a 26 year old who's been living here since 2005, I can assure you that the vast, vast majority of young people who move to this city cannot even begin to afford to buy a house.

Everything you say, if reversed, would be blatantly racist, bigoted, and unnecessary. But you don't care about that, because scarves and bikes make you sad.

It's truly amazing how hypocritical people can be.

by MJB on May 13, 2013 4:21 pm • linkreport

Speed cameras only came up because you assumed that people opposed to this plan also support hefty speed fines to fill up the city's coffers.

But anyway, how would increased empathy make Ms. Bond's proposal any better?

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper

But Virginians are not trying to tax Washingtonians for the (supposed) privilege of working in their state.

1) Virginia doesn't have the problem of its daytime population nearly doubling from people commuting in to work there

2) Virginia doesn't have the problem of being unable to collect tax on 40% of its real estate

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport

As a DC resident I'm not entirely such a commuter tax makes sense. You'd have to be careful of pushing out businesses that locate here and it would be very difficult to enforce unless VA and MD agreed (and why would they?) to do so. I think holding down transit fares is one way to make DC more competitive and capture more tax dollars and also making sure our local income tax doesnt get crazy. Seems like they are doing a pretty decent job of keeping that balanced right now.

by Alan B. on May 13, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

@Ceefer

There you go again with the selfish thing. You have yet to even remotely show I am being "selfish." I have made quite clear my opposition to this law is because it is bad policy, and would have no effect on me personally.

You are the one who brought up speed cameras, and your incessant hatred of them is well known. There is no strawman here, you called me selfish, then argued in the following paragraph (selfishly, I might add) against speed cameras.

Your stereotyping me shows again how pathetic your reading comprehension skills are. At what point have I been arrogant, entitled, incapable of empathy, and myopic.

Nothing I have said has approached any of those adjectives. You are the one who has resorted to pathetic name-calling in a (failed) hope to advance your point of view (which presumably is that 80+ year old people who make $149,999 AGI in a year and have lived in DC for 25 years shouldn't have to pay real estate or income taxes.)

At no point have you put forth any cogent arguments in favor of your viewpoint. Your only remote argument in favor of this subsidy involved the fact that

the fact that hipsters are now willing and able to pay ridiculous prices for the house next door just to be trendy shouldn't cause them to have an unaffordable tax bill and be forced to move.

All of your arguments included insults and speed cameras, and then throwing around adjectives. I honestly feel a bit sorry for you, if that is the best you can do to present your viewpoints.

I live in northern Petworth, on a very racially diverse block. I love my neighbors, think they are terrific people. That certainly doesn't mean I think they are somehow deserving of some sort of tax break because they meet arbitrary residency and income requirements.

Most worrying to me is your continued ignorance as to the meaning of the word selfish.

devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

I have said/nor feel nothing of that sort in this post. Once again, work on your reading comprehension. Take of the blinders, and try and contribute intelligently.

by Kyle-w on May 13, 2013 5:32 pm • linkreport

@MJB

"@ceefer

Good lord, you must be Courtland Milloy. It all makes sense now!"
-----
Translation: YOU PEOPLE all think alike.

Thanks for clearing that up.

And thanks a bunch proving me right.

by ceefer on May 13, 2013 6:52 pm • linkreport

@ceefer

You did it again!

PS don't act like you don't know that Courtland Milloy hates hipsters and uses myopic inappropriately.

I will dig back through both your comments here and at the Post if I have to, so help me god.

by MJB on May 13, 2013 7:01 pm • linkreport

Translation: YOU PEOPLE all think alike.

What's "you people"? Critics of DC policy who used to live DC but now live in MD, but whose criticism seems to be entirely based on personal attacks?

by oboe on May 13, 2013 7:07 pm • linkreport

Thank goodness we all think Ms. Bonds proposal is awful. That means its less likely to pass.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 7:26 pm • linkreport

@Kyle, don't feed the trolls.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 7:53 pm • linkreport

@ Scoot:Virginia doesn't have the problem of

So what? VA has plenty of other problems. Fir instance, most of its population lives in two extreme corners of the state. Transportation is an issue in the rural areas, and so is poverty. Ever been in SW VA?

Why would Virginians (and Marylanders) pay for DC's problems while DC politicians revel in denigrating those immigrant workers? Why would Virginians allow themselves to be taxed without being represented? Washingtonians know how unfair that is, and rightfully complain about it.

by Jasper on May 13, 2013 9:35 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper

Virginia has plenty of other problems. So does Maryland, so does the District and every other jurisdiction. Care to explain has relevance to what we're talking about?

Why would Virginians allow themselves to be taxed without being represented? Washingtonians know how unfair that is, and rightfully complain about it.

Any commuter tax plan would have to be passed by Congress, so in fact, Virginians would be represented. Ironically, DC residents would not.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 11:25 pm • linkreport

Count me among the narrow-minded and selfish who think that completely eliminating property taxes for anyone is a poor policy proposal. DC already requires new-comers to pay more than old-timers in hot areas (via the 10% increase cap). We also subsidize seniors through the 50% reduction in their property taxes, for which the only qualification is age (I ain't mad about this...many jurisdictions, including my hometown, do something similar). We ALSO allow lower-income households to claim back some of their property tax increase. I know. I live in a neighborhood where most people look and earn different from me, and many of them qualify for this program. While I'm not accredited in any way to help them fill out their tax returns, in casual conversation from our front porches, I do mention it. I may even help them file for it without taking responsibility for the return because I just don't have the bona fides to sign on the dotted line. Or ship them over to the free tax workshop if they want more professional advice than "well, I'm a college-educated person who can both read laws and do math..." They generally thank me.

I'm particularly narrow-minded and selfish when the benefit of zero property taxes could be extended to folks with income approximately 1.75x mine. Present something reasonable. Give more of a break to seniors. Increase the homestead deduction. Reduce the yearly increase cap. Increase the senior cut. But zero property taxes for people over 80 making up to $150K, just for living here for 25 years? No go.

Also, I don't think you all realize quite how good you have it living in the District, w/r/t property taxes. My brother pays about 150% of what I do in property taxes for a house valued at only about 25% of what mine is. Oh sure, his income taxes are a *little* lower (state + local of 6% marginal versus 8.5% marginal for me), but, overall, my taxes are lower, both in real dollars and as a percentage of income. And don't think that "saves" renters, since, as a landlord, I can say that property taxes are ALWAYS included in the calculation of rent. I'm not going to lose money to cover property taxes, and neither are landlords in his area. Rents are generally more expensive than mortgages there, because (a) property taxes are higher on rentals (just like they are here, but with a SERIOUS multiplier over what even someone here with no homestead deduction pays) and (b) everyone who is remotely credit-worthy just buys something, so they gouge renters because the renters have no other option. No joke, buying a house saved my mom 2/3 of her housing expense. But she rented for years because a lender wouldn't touch her for a mortgage because, hey, a divorce and trying to raise 2 kids on your own *may* just ruin your credit. I have WAY more sympathy for people like that than seniors with healthy incomes who most likely own their homes free and clear.

by Ms. D on May 14, 2013 12:46 am • linkreport

@ Scoot:Any commuter tax plan would have to be passed by Congress

I thought DC just got itself budget independence...

by Jasper on May 14, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

I thought DC just got itself budget independence...

The Home Rule Act specifically prohibits the District from imposing a tax on individuals who work in the District but live elsewhere.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

I thought DC just got itself budget independence...

Not yet - what happened was that DC residents voted for budget autonomy in a local special election, but since all DC laws must be approved by Congress, only Congress can make the vote have the force of law.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

@ Scoot:all DC laws must be approved by Congress, only Congress can make the vote have the force of law.

Incorrect. From: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18525/vote-for-the-budget-autonomy-referendum-on-april-23/

readers expressed a belief that a referendum would just be advisory, that Congress would not follow our request, and it's a waste of time. This is incorrect. The referendum is not advisory at all.

If it passes, DC will have amended its own charter, which it has the power to do. It will no longer have wait for Congress to approve its budget before spending local tax dollars. Congress could block the amendment from taking effect, but to do that, both houses of Congress would have to act.

by Jasper on May 14, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

@ Jasper

Well, yes and no. The law still has to be approved by Congress; that does not necessarily mean it must pass an affirmative vote. We are hoping that no one will raise a challenge to it, either in a legislative body or a court. It is a means to an end.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

Kudos to BOnds for actually easing the tax burden, and our seniors deserve it. THose who bought their homes for less than $100 K many years ago, including my grandmother, in areas with rising property values/taxes will benefit.

Now, hopefully more tax relief for other people is on the way in this overpriced, overtaxed city.

by Beecher on May 15, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

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