On Tuesday I posted commentary entitled “So you live in DC huh?” It was a about how you some people say they are from DC and actually live in one of our suburbs. And I said, “Many of these same people actually look at our fair city with disdain, as drain on our region and a crime hub. They can claim all that is positive about DC from our sports teams, rich culture, entertainment, nightlife, and economic abundance. Yet they look at those who live here as though we were from some war zone or post apocalyptic land.
So why am I writing about this again? I’ll tell you why. I received a comment from a reader named Savvyg that made me think a little more about this topic.
Savvyg said: ” I am guilty of this. I live in Alexandria but spend most of my waking hours in DC. My job is downtown, yoga studio in Dupont, doctor’s offices across the city. I enjoy time with friends in DC restaurants and clubs. So while I do not rent or own property in DC, I sure feel as if I am entitled to say I live there. How does Interconnections define live anyway? Is it where you lay your head down at night? Or is it where you make a day’s worth of contributions to the local workforce, and economy of DC. Perhaps if DC would make real estate affordable those of us who have to commute across the river to enjoy the capital city and fudge that “were from DC” could truly call it home and complete the equation by laying our heads within the District lines at night.”
This is a good comment by Savvyg, because it shows that some DC government officials are not doing a good job at educating our neighbors about the economic realities of DC’s small tax base and how commuters, the Federal Government, foreign embassies, churches and many other factors impact it.
Briefly, I can tell you a little about the impact that commuters have on this city. First, they spend most of their money in the communities where they live. Second, they don’t pay a non-resident tax (like commuters in New York and Philadelphia), which would help with cost of wear and tear on our roads, sewage and water use, and emergency services. The money they spend on entertainment, and we are glad they do spend it, is not enough.
And, finally, because of the presence of the Federal Government, universities, embassies, and churches, close to sixty percent of DC land is non-taxable. So how about that!
These are facts that I think every visitor and commuter to this city should know. So should the heads of the various universities and other non-profits. DC provides a rich environment for all the above to function and flourish. I’ll say it again, “Claim DC but be concerned about it.”
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You can learn more about me at http://jayspeights.blogspot.com/ . And be sure to buy my new book, “Harmonious Day.”