Today is a Washington, D.C. holiday - sadly it's not a holiday everywhere, but April 16th is the day that Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862. So, like lots of holidays, the DC government is shut today. The rest of the nation is benefiting from our recognition of freeing slaves by have 3 extra days to file their taxes. That's right folks, this is the reason your taxes are due on April 18th instead of today. And since I am talking about things that are special to DC, I would like to discuss something special and also something that is bullshit, for DC. We do not have a voting representative in Congress. Oh, and I too pay Federal (and DC) taxes. Sounds like it's time for a different kind of tea party (not the crazy kind). If you did not know, we have a Mayor and a city council, and we vote for our own laws and make our own budget, just like any other city in America. What you might not know, is that Congress can reject these laws and our budget. That is correct - some rep from Wyoming can get ticked off at our liberal, progressive city and decide to kill or enact legislation for Washington DC.
This recently happened during the last budget process. The final compromise was about bills specific to DC. Congress killed our DC tax-payer funded and voted for DC abortion fund (which gave poor women access to abortions) to disappear. They added school vouchers back to DC - a program that allows discounts for private schools, and can harm our already messy public school system - and something DC voters rejected, and there is potential to kill our needle-exchange program, which is responsible for lowering HIV/AIDS contraction rates in the city with the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the nation. And the President and Congress agreed that it was fine to kill this stuff...and we, the 600,000 residents of DC had no one to call and complain to. Yes, we have a delegate, but delegates may not vote on bills, so we have no voice in Congress, the group of folks who might show up, stick around for 2 years, and override the bills that me and my neighbors think benefit our community.
You see, I live in DC. This is my home. I have lived in the same neighborhood for 6 years, 5 of which in the same apartment. I know all of my neighbors and I join them in being the nosey block police. I walk my doggie here, I help with the neighborhood blog, I plant flowers to make the block look nicer. I serve on jury duty, my drivers license is from DC, and I vote in DC. I pay outrageously high DC taxes (8.5% income tax), and I pay federal taxes. I am a citizen - and I have no voice in Congress.
My firm put together this little Facebook tool, after this budget battle, because we are just sick of this. We got a little press attention from the local NRP station as well, and we are hoping this will draw attention to this fact. You can help us. If you live outside of the colony of Washington DC, call your elected, voting member of Congress and tell them you think this is ridiculous. Please help us - I am not joking. As you enjoy putting off your taxes one more weekend, thanks to our local holiday, recognize that we too, want to be emancipated from this antiquated system, and want to have the same representation as everyone else has in this country.