The property tax is too dang high
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