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You’re hearing a lot about what happens to states and municipalities if the United States goes into default because the people on the Hill can’t get it together and agree to raise the debt ceiling before August 2. Even if they do, it’s likely that the U.S.’ credit rating will fall, which determines how expensive it is to borrow money—-and that will have a serious trickle-down effect on the Washington region, making it more difficult to finance both public and private projects.
To understand what this means in concrete terms, consider Kelsey Gardens, the long-empty strip of brick buildings on 7th Street NW in Shaw that’s supposed to be developed as “Addison Square.” The owners have gone through many rounds of trying to find financing, and they’re getting close—-but higher interest rates could kill the project. Shaw Main Streets coordinator and local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Alex Padro had this update on their progress:
If the Feds default, all bets are off for everything in play. Interest rates will rise, and things could be further delayed. What I can tell you is that the budget that is awaiting the Congressional waiting period includes the tax abatement for the project, so it will be 60 days before that’s final and the banks can move forward.
What does Congress’ intransigence mean? It means that developments that should happen will be harder and take longer, and developments that could happen just probably won’t. Thank you, American political system.