The prop­erty tax is too dang high

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - let­[email protected]­post.com

The Jan. 6 Metro ar­ti­cle “As D.C.’s econ­omy thrives, in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers strug­gle” makes you won­der why rents are es­ca­lat­ing if re­tail­ers can’t af­ford these ris­ing rents. One rea­son is that com­mer­cial prop­erty tax as­sess­ments keep go­ing up even when there are no new devel­op­ments or prop­erty im­prove­ments. When that hap­pened in the Cleve­land Park neigh­bor­hood, where I am an ad­vi­sory neigh­bor­hood com­mis­sioner, I met with of­fi­cials at the Of­fice of Tax and Rev­enue and learned that the D.C. Coun­cil en­acted a law a few years ago to raise as­sess­ments to the full mar­ket value of the prop­erty. That means that small, lo­cally owned busi­nesses with lit­tle profit mar­gin can face an­nual in­creases in taxes passed on by land­lords while rev­enue may re­main flat.

Tax poli­cies of­ten demon­strate the val­ues of a city. In this case, the tax pol­icy mea­sures what the prop­erty could be worth rather than what it is worth to res­i­dents and the di­ver­sity in the city.

Nancy MacWood, Wash­ing­ton The writer is a mem­ber of the D.C. chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer’s Res­i­den­tial Real Prop­erty Tax

Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil.

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