April 20, 2013

Regarding the April 14 Metro article “An idea that won’t quit: D.C. exemption from U.S. income tax”:

In 2001, when Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) introduced legislation for such an exemption, she said, “Confronted with the alternative: D.C.’s $2 billion in federal income taxes” — now closer to $4 billion — “or voting representation for its citizens, we believe that Congress will ultimately choose the vote over the money.”

Ms. Norton was correct then, and she would be correct now.

There is no way that Congress would exempt District residents from federal income taxes. If such a bill were introduced in a bipartisan manner and with seriousness of purpose, eventually there would be a howl of protest from the rest of the country. The American people will never support creating a Monaco on the Potomac.

But ironically, it would be this very “envy factor” that would finally focus the country’s attention on this issue. Only by the introduction of such legislation can the nation be made aware that D.C. residents are third-class citizens in their own country, behind Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories.

The American people are basically fair-minded. Once made aware of the fundamental injustice of our treatment as citizens, they would instruct their representatives and senators to correct the double-standard and give the District voting rights in Congress.

Joseph N. Grano, Washington

The writer is a member of the D.C. Republican Committee.