DC Chamber Government Affairs Update – February 2023

Government Affairs Committee Updates

Scorecard

  • The Chamber is forming a working group to build on the success of our first-ever Council Scorecard. The group will consider enhancements to the current Scorecard.  Please notify Brett Allen ([email protected]) or Kevin Wrege ([email protected]) if you are interested in participating. To download and view the full scorecard, please visit: https://dcchamber.org/2022-scorecard.


Tax Revision Commission

  • The Chamber is also forming a working group to provide recommendations to the DC Tax Revision Commission (TRC). We continue to seek participation from interested DC businesses, associations, law firms, and tax experts with an aim of delivering recommendations to the TRC in early summer 2023. In particular, we are now seeking small business participation. If you are interested, please contact Brett Allen ([email protected]) or Kevin Wrege ([email protected]).

 

DC Council Activities

CER25-0014  “Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd Recognition Resolution of 2023”.
We thank the DC Council for recognizing our immediate past Board Chairwoman, Dr. Carolyn Rudd, for her invaluable service to the business community and the citizens of the District. Congratulations Dr. Rudd on this well-deserved recognition. 

Key Legislation

B25-0114 “Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2021”.
The “Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2021”, seeks to prohibit the use of algorithmic decision-making in an unlawfully discriminatory manner and would require corresponding notices to individuals whose personal information is used in certain algorithms to determine employment, housing, healthcare and financial lending. The measure was recently refiled in the new Council session by Councilmember Robert White, Jr., who championed last year’s bill, along with co-introducers Lewis George, Allen, Parker, and Bonds. The bill has now been sequentially referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development chaired by Councilmember McDuffie, and the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety chaired by Councilmember Pinto.  Last year, the Chamber led a successful effort to delay formal action on the bill. This year, we intend to focus our efforts on defeating or, if necessary, fixing this legislation.    

 

Bill 25-0026  “Pay Range Act of 2023”.
Sponsored by councilmembers T. White, Nadeau, Lewis George, Parker, and Pinto, this bill would establish requirements prohibiting employers from posting a job advertisement without including the minimum and maximum salary or hourly pay information. Under this bill, employers are defined as any individual, firm, association, corporation, the District of Columbia government, any receiver or trustee of any individual firm, association, or corporation, or the legal representative of a deceased employer, who uses the services of an individual for pay in the District. According to the bill, in stating the minimum and maximum salary or hourly pay for the position, the range may extend from the lowest to the highest salary the employer, in good faith, believes at the time of the posting it would pay for the advertised job. The measure has been referred to the Committee on Executive Administration and Labor (Chaired by Councilmember Bonds). A public hearing on predecessor Bill 24-708 was held on December 12, 2022, so any additional public hearings in the current Council period are optional.  

 

 B25-0068 “Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act of 2023”.
Introduced by Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Nadeau and referred to the Committee of the Whole, the bill would remove criminal penalties for a violation of the act or a vending regulation, and would allow the Mayor to establish sidewalk vending zones for sidewalk vendors to legally operate.

 

B24-0301 “Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive (BEST) Amendment Act of 2021”
This measure, unanimously passed by the Council in December 2022, would streamline basic business licensing processes for new and existing businesses.  Among other things, it reduces the number of basic business license categories from over one hundred to ten.  It lowers initial license fees and removes outdated or duplicative requirements.  The bill is subject to appropriation and the Chamber and other proponents are urging the Administration to include appropriate funding in the Mayor’s FY 2024 budget proposal. 

 

FY 2024 Budget
The Mayor plans to submit her FY 2024 budget proposal for Council review on March 22, 2023.  The Chamber is now identifying priority items it intends to engage on at the DC Council.  Early ideas include no income, residential or commercial property tax increases, and carrying out the scheduled sunset of the FY 2020 increase in the commercial property and deed and recordation tax on September 30, 2023.

 

Regulation

DC Cashout Law


Passed by the DC Council in April 2020, the “DC Transportation Benefits Equity Act of 2020”, also known as the DC Parking Cashout Law, requires businesses in DC with 20 or more employees to either offer a Clean Air Fringe Benefit to employees receiving a free or reduced-cost parking space at work, develop a transportation demand management plan, or pay a Clean Air Compliance fee. All DC employers with 20 or more employees must report their progress to DDOT every other year, regardless of how they handle their parking.

At our October Government Affairs meeting, goDCgo discussed DC Parking Cashout Law requirements and took questions from committee members. You can find the link to the presentation here:  Parking Cashout Law_DC Chamber_10.6.22.

Given that the January 2023 reporting period has come and gone, you may review NEXT STEPS here.

 

Initiatives

DC’s Comeback Plan


On Monday, January 9, 2023, the Mayor released DC’s Comeback Plan, an initiative setting the Administration’s economic development vision and goals for the next five years. The plan establishes the following six goals:

  • Create 35,000 New Jobs in High-Growth Sectors;
  • Increase Share of Minority-Owned Businesses;
  • Eliminate Key Amenity Gaps Across All Neighborhoods;
  • Add 15,000 Residents to the Downtown Population;
  • Retain Current Residents and Reach a Population of 725k; and
  • Increase Median Income of Black Households by $25,000.


In the coming weeks, the Chamber plans to host Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio to discuss the plan with our members. You can view the plan here. https://www.obviouslydc.com/dcs-comeback-plan/home

  • Business Attraction & Retention/Downtown Economic Recovery

 
As the federal government shifted to telework during the pandemic – and has been slow to encourage or mandate that employees return to in-person office work in the District — the downstream economic consequences for our commercial property occupancy rates and our hospitality and retail sectors, particularly in our Central Business District, have been pernicious. The Chamber is working with its partners in the business community and the DC government to advocate for practical reforms to help incentivize more robust downtown business development.

 

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Member Profile: Margery Goldberg, Zenith Gallery

Celebrating its 45th year in business, Zenith Gallery and Zenith Community Arts Foundation is an art center bringing opportunity and creativity to their community in DC, as well as internationally. Margery Goldberg—artist, activist, and art curator—started the gallery in 1978 and the foundation in 2000.

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