Today, along with Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, and my at-large colleagues David Grosso, Robert White, and Anita Bonds, I am introducing the District of Columbia Education Charitable Donations Amendment Act of 2018. The bill does two simple things, but it will have a big, positive economic impact on our residents and our city.
First, it creates a new fund for residents to donate to support our public schools. Second, it creates a new tax credit to incentivize donations to this fund. These two steps will both support public education in the District and potentially help more than a hundred thousand income tax filers in the District avoid a new penalty from the Republican tax bill just signed into law.
Happy New Year! Welcome to the first update of 2018!
It’s been a busy two weeks so far, with several important issues needing immediate attention. I am very disturbed about the troubling findings from an investigation into DC school attendance and high school graduation rates. This critical assessment was triggered by outstanding accountability reporting from WAMU/NPR on the 2017 graduating class of Ballou, a DCPS high school that received a lot of press and praise from city officials for having every member of the senior class get into college.
As the initial findings make clear, the problem is not just at Ballou but at high schools across our city: Many students are truant or coming to school late regularly but still graduate, sometimes using “credit recovery” classes. As I learned in a December hearing on the matter, there are no regulations or rules around credit recovery. This needs to be addressed swifty. I see the impact in my position as chair of the Labor Committee: Our young people are not prepared to enter the world of work. Some still need help in reading and writing. Many more lack so-called “soft skills,” the essential skills that are important not only on the job but in life: showing up on time, being able to write and speak effectively, and knowing how to resolve conflict and be resilient. These basic habits are the obstacles to employment for many jobseekers in our city. These habits start in school.
Councilmember Silverman Statement on Bringing Transformative Public Financing System to the District
WASHINGTON, DC – DC Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) today released the following statement after the DC Council unanimously passed the Fair Elections Amendment Act of 2017 on the first of two votes:
“I am thrilled that Fair Elections passed unanimously, and I look forward to it being funded and becoming an integral part of our electoral process. It is an investment in the health of our local democracy, and especially given our lack of statehood, I think this is a very prudent expenditure.
It is hard for many DC residents to take $500 or $1,000 out of a bank account to give to a candidate. But they might be able to take $25 or $50, and with that, they might be as influential as a current “maxed out” big money donor.
Another significant achievement of this bill is that qualified small donor contributors must be people—real living, breathing people—not anonymous LLCs. This was the will of more than 23,000 District voters who supported the 2012 ballot initiative, Initiative 70. We did not make the ballot in the end, but this bill is confirmation that the efforts were not in vain and voices were heard.
Hearing on Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Enhancement Amendment Act with Draft Agenda
The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hold a hearing on Bill 22-0617, the “Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Enhancement Amendment Act of 2017” on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. The hearing will begin at 10am in Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The draft agenda and witness list is attached here.
Roundtable on PR22-0683, Compensation Agreement between DC, OAG, and AFGE Local 1403 Approval Resolution with Draft Agenda
The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hold a public roundtable on the resolution to approve the recently negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Office of the Attorney General and Local 1403, AFL-CIO (PR 22-0683). The roundtable will be held on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The draft agenda and witness list are attached here.
As some of you have read, the Republican tax bill limits the amount of state and local income and property tax deductions you can take on your federal income tax. According to the bill, starting in 2018 it will be capped at $10,000. The District's Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) estimates this could impact up to 16% of District filers. There have been articles in the press highlighting that one option to get the full benefit of the real property tax deduction, at least for one more year, is to pre-pay your 2018 property taxes before Dec. 31, 2017. Please consult a tax advisor (quickly) if you think this might be to your benefit.
The CFO has instructions on how to pre-pay your real property taxes here: https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/release/statement-prepayment-real-property-taxes
I, along with other Council members, have asked the Chief Financial Officer for a full analysis of the tax bill and how it will impact the District and its residents. Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt informed us that his office is doing just that, and we can expect a full analysis a few weeks into the new year. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions at [email protected] or (202) 724-7772.
Happy holidays! Whether you will be staying at home in DC or traveling to visit family or friends, I wish you a warm and peaceful holiday season as we close out 2017.
Given the harrowing year in national politics, it made our job at the local level even more critical to preserving democratic values and basic decency in our country. It has been an honor to work on behalf of District residents to make our city, the nation’s capital, a model for the rest of the country in being a place of opportunity for all.
Of course, there is so much more to do. I will remain focused on three fundamental principles: honest, ethical decision-making; responsive and accountable governing; and making smart investments in economic development, including affordable housing and public education, that will have big returns in the long run.
On Monday, December 18, 2017, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will convene an Additional Meeting at 11:30 a.m. in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). The Committee will consider and vote on the following measures:
- B22-68, “Deferred Compensation Program Enrollment Act of 2017”
- B22-401, “Workforce Development System Transparency Act of 2017”
- B22-552, “Office of Employee Appeals Hearing Examiner Classification Amendment Act of 2017”
- B22-553, “Public Employee Relations Board Term Limit Amendment Act of 2017”
- B22-554, “Adult Career Pathways Task Force Expansion Amendment Act of 2017”
- PR22-528, “Public Employee Relations Board Barbara Somson Confirmation Resolution of 2017”
Drafts of the Committee Reports and Prints are attached below:
What better way to enjoy the holiday spirit than with warm treats and delicious drinks to support a great cause? I hope you’ll join me and my staff this Sunday, December 10, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at Compass Coffee Chinatown (650 F Street NW) to celebrate the holidays and give donations to Toys for Tots!
I’m thrilled to be partnering for our third year with Compass Coffee founders Harrison Suarez and Michael Haft, both former Marines, to give District families a helping hand with toys for the holidays. Stop by anytime for treats and hot drinks! If you are able, please bring an unwrapped child’s gift for our donation box too. You can find more details and let us know that you can make it with an RSVP here.
On Monday, December 11, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will convene a public hearing on the following measures:
- B22-419, the “Subrogation Fund Establishment Act of 2017”
- B22-420, the “Captive Insurance Agency Amendment Act of 2017”
The hearing will begin in Room 123 at 1:00 p.m. Please find a draft agenda and witness list attached here.