Time to tie D.C. voting rights to taxes
Robert McCartney’s April 14 Metro column, “Can D.C. rise from Gray’s sit-down?,” referred to the District’s “second-class” status. If only! To say that D.C. residents are second-class citizens is a gross overstatement: D.C. residents are actually third-class citizens, lagging behind our compatriots in Puerto Rico and the territories. They have “second-class” status because, like us, they have no voting representative in Congress. But, unlike the District, they are exempt from federal income taxes, and their laws and budgets are not subject to approval by Congress. We only wish we could be so “second-class.”
In the last Congress, 11 conservative Republicans introduced H.R. 1014, proposing that “residents of the District of Columbia should be exempt from paying United States Federal income taxes” until the District is provided with a vote in the House of Representatives, where revenue bills originate. Since then, they have gained the support of newly elected Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). In a recent interview, Mr. West said that until D.C. residents achieve a vote in the House, they should be exempt from federal income taxation as residents of Puerto Rico and the territories are.
It is time for our delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, to introduce H.R. 1014 again in the 112th Congress, as she did in two prior Congresses, and for our mayor and the D.C. Council to support its passage.
Nelson F. Rimensnyder, Washington
The writer is a member of the D.C. Republican Committee.