CCAGW Urges D.C. Councilmembers to Vote Against Unnecessary and Harmful Taxes | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges D.C. Councilmembers to Vote Against Unnecessary and Harmful Taxes

Letters to Officials

July 20, 2020

Council of the District of Columbia 
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 
Washington, D.C. 20004

My name is Thomas Schatz, and I am the president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW).  The organization's mission reflects the interests of taxpayers and covers a wide variety of issues, including taxes and spending.  On behalf of 2,801 CCAGW members and supporters in Washington, D.C., and in addition as a District of Columbia resident since 1978, I submit the following testimony regarding unnecessary and harmful taxes in Bill 23-760. 
As the economy starts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the Advertising and Personal Information Tax, Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax, Off Premises Alcohol Tax Rate, and Estate Tax Adjustment measures will be counterproductive and hurt consumers, businesses, and taxpayers in the District of Columbia.  
The 3 percent Advertising and Personal Information Tax will harm businesses already struggling from city stay-at-home orders caused by the coronavirus epidemic, and lead to further job losses.  Employers rely heavily on advertising and data to attract customers, and the advertising industry itself has a significant presence in the city.  According to Businesses Against the Ad Tax, the advertising industry supports 149,579 jobs, representing 19.9 percent of the 751,369 jobs in the District of Columbia.  Nearly 4,000 jobs could be lost if this tax is imposed, and many media and marketing organizations could be forced to leave the District of Columbia.  Legislatures have rejected similar measures in over 40 states and localities long before the pandemic, and those states would all be attractive alternatives for the companies that would be likely to depart from the city. 
The Estate Tax Adjustment portion of the bill proposes to increase the death tax by 29 percent by lowering the exemption from $5.6 million to $4 million.  This would be a great incentive for residents to leave the District of Columbia for Maryland, which has an exemption of $5 million, or Virginia, which does not have an estate tax, or any of the 33 other states that do not have an estate or inheritance tax.  The tax increase would also be a significant competitive disadvantage to the District to attract new residents, and in turn, new businesses.
CCAGW also opposes the proposed increase in taxes on fuel consumption and alcohol purchases, which would impose additional financial burdens on businesses and consumers.  
Again, I urge you to vote against the Advertising and Personal Information Tax, the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax, the Off-Premises Alcohol Tax Rate, and the Estate Tax Adjustment measures in Bill 23-760.  I appreciate your attention to this matter.
Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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