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At last night’s Ward 3 Democrats meeting, Councilmember Jack Evans was starting to sound a lot more like a Republican, blasting his colleagues’ proposed tax increases and talking about “living within our means.” Soda taxes, parking fees, and surcharges of all sorts were derided as counterproductive, and the wrong way to make up that $400 million deficit.
“We really have to shrink this government,” he told the audience, to cautious nods.
Naturally, the conversation came around to how the District might increase tax revenues without increasing rates. Evans dropped a surprising statistic: 70 percent of D.C. government workers don’t live in the District. In previous decades, mayors have proposed and the council has passed a requirement that all city employees actually live in the city, hoping to increase the tax base and encourage local civic investment. Every time, Congress has voted it down.
Why? The Ward 3 Dems wanted to know. Evans explained: Rep. Steny Hoyer, 15-term Democrat of Maryland, has been the District’s biggest friend in Congress. Except when it comes to the residency requirement.
“Have you ever heard of Mitchellville?” Evans asked. Nobody had. But apparently, according to the councilmember, many D.C. civil servants—police and firefighters especially—live in the unincorporated suburban area, which has a family median income of $91,297. It’s where Rep. Hoyer grew up. And while not currently in his district, Housing Complex is pretty sure it was before the state was redistricted in 2002.
“They must have no fires in Mitchellville,” Evans quipped.