The discussion The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia, had at the Economic Club with President David M. Rubenstein focused on the first budget proposal she recently sent to the DC Council. Mayor Bowser explained that jobs, affordable housing, and addressing homelessness were the guiding priorities in crafting the budget. She described the budget as “modest”, especially considering the need to close a $190 million budget gap. To help close that gap, she is proposing a sales tax increase to 6 percent, bringing the District tax on par with the current 6 percent sales tax charged in Maryland and Virginia. The current DC sales tax is 5.75 percent. The mayor also is proposing cuts to the University of the District of Columbia and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals.
Excerpts from Event
... D.C. is the economic engine of our region, accounting for one-quarter of the job market and, in the last year, over two-thirds of its private-sector job growth. ... We’re in the top 10 cities for venture capital investment, a top five U.S. city for new construction, and we’re number one in the U.S. for attracting entrepreneurial founders of companies. ... Last week, I delivered my first State of the District address and I outlined my administration’s pathway to making sure that more Washingtonians have access to the great prosperity that our city is experiencing.
More people in the District are spending their dollars locally than ever before. We are going to continue to attract more foreign and direct investment in our city. And because of the hard work and discipline of a lot of people, this year we saw our credit rating improved once again. The District is indeed a good place to do business.
Driving investment and development, particularly to overlooked and underserved communities, is a key pillar of our economic development strategy. ... In a lot of places in this city, unemployment is below the national average, housing ownership is above the national average, crime levels are below the national average. And in some neighborhoods of Washington we’re two and three times the national average in those areas. My commitment ... [is] that we would make a concerted effort every single day with intentional policies and funding to close those gaps ... I am very proud that I appointed the first Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity to represent our city.