Anthony Willams At Helm of Tax Commission
James Wright | 3/21/2012, 8:34 p.m.
"Any D.C. business with receipts greater than $12,000 is subject to a tax rate of 9.975 percent," Lang said. "This is among the highest in the nation, with the national average being 6.6 percent and Virginia and Maryland assessing taxes at 6 percent and 8.25 respectively. The District's tax structure is a major contributing factor to that ranking, and we at the Chamber are continually working to reverse this trend."
Lang welcomes the formation of the TRC and hopes the group will begin deliberations soon, because "we are most anxious for the tax commission to move quickly with their work to overhaul our tax structure."
D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) supports the TRC, as well. Orange, who is an attorney and a certified public accountant, said that a comprehensive review of what the District taxes and how it is collected needs to be done.
"I suspect that not only do we get a lot of money from taxes but we also lose money from not taxing certain things," Orange, 54, said. "There is the issue of the commuter tax and those entities that the city cannot assess. We have to study this to see what we can do to generate more revenue through taxes and to make the necessary changes in our tax policy in order to move the city forward."
Williams, 60, has been credited for returning the city to fiscal solvency and making it more attractive to national and international businesses and investors. He worked to revitalize downtown Washington and put into motion the upgrading of such areas as Capitol Hill East, Columbia Heights, the H Street Corridor and the area around Nationals Park in Southeast. Prior to his mayoral tenure, he was the District's chief financial officer appointed by Congress to help the city deal with a $500 million budget shortfall.
However, Williams was criticized throughout his tenure as mayor for having little interest in economic development east of the Anacostia River.
Williams is a senior strategic advisor for the District office of the international law firm of McKenna, Long and Aldridge.
When Sam Taylor, a resident of Northwest, heard that Williams would lead the TRC, he smiled.
"I am biased when it comes to Anthony Williams because I like him," Taylor said.
Taylor, a retired federal employee, said that he liked what he heard about the TRC, as long as it stays within the confines of its mission.
"I think it should advise the legislative branch of the city on the taxes we pay here," he said. "I won't have a problem as long as it is strictly advisory in nature."
Besides, Taylor said, taxes are not the issue.
"What I want to know is what will I get for the taxes I pay?" he asked.