It’s tax day in America, and that’s a reminder that hundreds of thousands of District residents will be paying billions of dollars worth of income taxes to a federal government in which they do not have full representation.
The irony of taxation without representation is not lost on many city politicos. A year ago, former D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz wrote in a letter to The Washington Post that she was considering not paying her federal income taxes in protest:
Next year at tax time, if I am still denied my right to vote in Congress, and no real movement is afoot, I am ready to deny the federal government my taxes. I will look at setting aside my taxes in an escrow account. I hope my fellow disenfranchised D.C. residents will join me in this effort.
Here we are, a year later, so I reached out to Schwartz to see whether she followed through. Not this year, she said.
For one, the prominent Republican said, she’s owed a refund. For another, “the timing proved to be really bad,” she said.
“There were a lot of, you know, issues that made an uphill battle even more uphill,” she said, without specifying any particular issues.
One might easily speculate that perhaps the various federal investigations into city political malfeasance — including one that forced a sitting council member to resign — might have had something to do with it, but Schwartz isn’t saying.
But she said she would “absolutely” consider stiffing Uncle Sam in the future. “I will consider doing whatever we have to do to get what we so justly deserve,” Schwartz said.
According to the most recent data, for tax year 2009, city taxpayers owed about $3.6 billion in individual income taxes to the federal government.