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Grosso opposes additional incentives for Amazon HQ2

For Immediate Release:
April 5, 2018
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - mnocella@dccouncil.us

Grosso opposes additional incentives for Amazon HQ2

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) on the District of Columbia's bid for Amazon to establish their second headquarters in the city:

"In recent months, the District of Columbia has engaged in a bidding war to curry favor with Amazon, seeking to entice them to establish their second headquarters, HQ2, in the city. Advocates for aggressively pursuing the internet behemoth tout the jobs, tax revenue, and prestige that would accrue to the District should we be picked. I certainly understand those arguments and would welcome Amazon to join our strong business community. But, the current state of the chase makes me wonder: at what cost?

"One of the most troubling aspects of the hunt for Amazon has been the opaqueness with which D.C.'s bid has been developed. Our open government laws and local reporting have made D.C.'s offer partially public, though highly redacted. Most of what the public can see are pre-existing incentives available to most businesses seeking to set up shop in our city. One could reasonably presume that the large black boxes in the bid shield the Mayor's offer of millions of additional public dollars in incentives that would require approval from the D.C. Council. It is problematic, then, that such details have not been proactively shared with me and my colleagues.

"The secrecy shrouding the bid is frustrating but so are the implications providing such incentives has for our responsibility to meet our residents' needs. Every year during the budget process I hear warnings from the District's Chief Financial Officer or some of my colleagues that though the city is in a strong fiscal position we cannot always expect it to be that way. This argument is generally used to discourage additional investments in human services, affordable housing, and even education. I worry that draining city coffers to bring Amazon here would intensify the calls for restraint in the investments that directly impact our residents. And while there is no doubt that Amazon could increase the tax revenue which could be redirected into city services, history tells us that will not happen. I worked as a staffer for the Council's Committee on Economic Development when we began revitalization. We made that same promise back then and yet we consistently fall short of fulfilling it.

"Instead of attracting outside entities with untold resources, we could be boosting the District's local business community, one that includes a flourishing technology industry. These small tech startups could benefit from the same incentives as Amazon. Such an investment would be spread across the city, rather than a centrally located HQ, cultivate homegrown businesses, and promote competition. Stacking the deck in favor of one large player could have the exact opposite effect.

"The District of Columbia is a great city to live and work in, with new people and companies flocking here daily. It is attractive in its own right. Though the benefits of Amazon choosing D.C. for its new home are not in doubt, the benefit of bending over backward to lure it here–at the expense of our current residents and local businesses–is. That is why I cannot and will not support any additional incentives to bring Amazon's HQ2 to D.C."

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Grosso proposes tax credit to expand affordable housing

For Immediate Release: 
May 16, 2017
 
Contact:
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105

Grosso proposes tax credit to expand affordable housing

Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso today introduced the Community Impact Investment Tax Credit Act of 2017 to spur the creation and preservation of more affordable housing in the District of Columbia.

The legislation encourages impact investments—investments made to solve social, environmental, or infrastructural challenges while yielding a financial return—in affordable housing through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) by providing to investors an income tax credit of up to 33 percent.

 “The affordable housing crisis will not be solved overnight, nor by any singular entity. Using every financing tool and partner is essential,” Grosso said.  “Through this legislation, we will continue the city’s affordable housing initiatives and multiply our public resources by promoting private investment to create more homes that D.C. residents can afford.”

While the city has made historic investment into the Housing Production Trust Fund, additional dollars are harder to come by as D.C. balances investments in other priorities such as education and city services. The bill would leverage public investment of up to $1 million in tax credits to provide $3 million for affordable housing.

“It is clear investors want to support affordable housing,” Grosso said.  “In just the last year, a local CDFI, Enterprise Community Partners, has been able to raise $11 million in impact capital to finance the preservation and production of local affordable homes. We can make that impact even greater by incentivizing this type of investment.”

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Grosso Introduces Bill to Establish a Small Business Tax Deferral Program

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2015

Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
(202) 724-8105

Grosso Introduces Bill to Establish a Small Business Tax Deferral Program

Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced the Small Business Tax Deferral Act of 2015. This legislation would establish a small business tax deferral program for those business owners with annual gross receipts that do not exceed $5 million when averaged over a three-year period.

“Small businesses provide a significant number of employment opportunities, foster growth and innovation and are often staples in the communities they serve,” said Grosso. “In D.C. we need to create a climate where small businesses not only survive but thrive and helping to alleviate the operational drain that payment of rising property taxes often causes, will certainly aid in this effort.”

According to a recent report published by the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis, “mom and pop” shops—those with only a handful of employees—have sharply declined over the past 15 years.  These businesses include florists, bookstores, hair salons, butchers and others.  This legislation will help these types of businesses keep their doors open for years to come.

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Grosso letter to CFO on property tax assessments and agency response

Councilmember Grosso often sends letters to agencies with additional questions after their performance oversight hearings. On March 4, 2015, Grosso sent a letter with questions about residential and commercial property tax assessments to the Chief Financial Officer, and received a response on March 26, 2015. We thank the CFO for the quick response, and both letters are below--first the Councilmember's followed by the CFO's response.

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Grosso Reports FY2015 Budget Victories

For Immediate Release:

May 28, 2014

Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun

(202) 724-8105

Grosso Reports FY2015 Budget Victories   

Success with priorities in education, workforce development, transportation, homelessness, environment, and more

Washington, D.C. – Today, the D.C. Council held a legislative meeting on the first reading of the FY 2015 Budget Request Act of 2014 and the FY2015 Budget Support Act of 2014. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) worked in committee to ensure inclusion of his top priorities in the budget. 

“The Committee of the Whole put forward a thoughtful and comprehensive budget that will benefit all District residents in the areas of education, workforce development, human services and transportation.  This budget is the result of a lot of hard work and careful considerations and I am pleased to support and vote in favor of it,” said Grosso. 

Grosso’s FY2015 Budget Victories

Tax Revision Commission

From the very beginning, Grosso supported the diligent work of the Tax Revision Commission. He advocated for the inclusion of the Commission’s recommendations in the FY15 budget, and was happy to join his colleagues in passing one of the largest tax relief packages for low & middle class individuals and families in the District’s history. In particular, Grosso advocated for the following:

  • Adding a new individual middle income bracket of $40,000 to 60,000 at 7% in FY15 and later 6.5% in FY16
  • Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to childless workers
  • Raising the standard deduction for single and married filers
  • Reducing the unincorporated and incorporated business franchise tax to 8.25%

 

Public Education

Improving public education has been a priority for Grosso since he first joined the Council. He supported the work of the Committee on Education in the FY15 budget and is especially pleased to support the following enhancements:

  • $1 million for the continuation of the Community Schools grant program, which works to integrate academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement in our public schools. Grosso strongly supports school being seen as community centers and this funding is vital to the success of the program.
  • A provision requiring D.C. Public Schools to report on its implementation of a restorative justice pilot program next school year. Grosso is committed to pushing our education sector to reexamine school discipline policies in an effort to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Restorative justice programs implemented with fidelity in schools is one way to advance those efforts.
  • Grosso also supports the Committee on Education’s decision to amend the Capital Improvement Plan to align capital funding with those schools that need it most. The additional funding for School Within A School, Logan Elementary, Marie Reed Elementary, Murch Elementary, Orr Elementary, and Watkins Elementary for modernization in FY2015 is important to the continued improvement of these education campuses.
  • Expansion of the school-based mental health program administered by the Department of Behavioral Health. Social-emotional support personnel are especially important for students. Our kids do not leave the stress of their home lives at the school house door. Even the best, highly qualified teacher struggles to teach a child who is only physically present but shut down mentally from stress and trauma.
  • $100,000 to support teen health educators who provide sexual and reproductive health education to their peers.

 

Workforce Development

It is important for the District of Columbia to not only establish a positive climate for businesses, but also for residents who work here or are seeking meaningful work. Grosso was proud to champion and support initiatives to improve workforce development and support District government employees.

  • Grosso worked diligently with the Chairman of the Committee on Government Operations, Kenyan McDuffie, to pass a proposal for 8 weeks of paid family leave for  District government employees in connection with the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, or the care of a family member who has a serious medical condition.  This is the most expansive family leave provision in the country.
  • $5.5 million investment in District Workforce Development at the University of the District of Columbia Community College Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning program to ensure that we are supporting workforce development programs that are successful and supporting our residents so that they can secure life-long, meaningful employment that allows them to take care of themselves and their families. 
  • $175,000 for a new employee at the Workforce Investment Council and a technical assistance consultant to conduct a cross-agency study that will track how each District agency allocates their adult literacy and workforce development funding.

 

Food Security & Recreation

Grosso believes we need to bolster our recreation options and efforts toward food security in the District of Columbia and complement the strong, robust health care infrastructure we are establishing. Grosso was pleased that the following initiatives he advocated for and supported were approved:

  • $8,000,000 for the renovation and modernization of the District’s only Therapeutic Recreation Center, which services people with disabilities and is located in Ward 7.  The funding will create additional changing spaces and showers in the women’s locker room, help to replace a badly patched roof and expand the physical size of the facility, which has not been renovated since it was built in 1971.
  • $1.3 million to create a locally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enhancement. With this funding, no resident receiving SNAP benefits will receive less than $30 per month in assistance, greatly increasing food security in the District.
  • $75,000 to support the Summer Food Services program administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation for low-income children participating in summer programming; $63,000 to support school food pantries at low-income schools in the District; $500,000 in capital dollars to support the development of urban farming, new community gardens and edible landscapes at sites across the District.

 

Homelessness Services

Grosso is committed to improving how the District assists our most vulnerable residents, as well as health outcomes in the city. He advocated for and supported the following:

  • $600,000 to hire 10 family case managers for families at D.C. General to assess families, connect them with the appropriate social services, and ultimately assist them in finding permanent housing.
  • $1.3 million to fund key provisions of the End Youth Homelessness Act of 2014, including funding for 10 transitional beds and 5 emergency shelter beds for youth aged 24 and younger, and street outreach to identify and assist vulnerable youth.
  • $2 million to fund the Homeless Prevention Program Establishment Act to implement prevention efforts that have proven to be successful in other jurisdictions.
  • $2.3 million to expand the Permanent Supportive Housing Program at the Department of Human Services.
  • $3 million to the tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) for homeless families, and those at risk of becoming homeless.
  • New funding for coordinated entry system to connect the homeless population to housing and other wrap around services.
  • $200,000 to conduct a feasibility study for the CCNV individual homeless shelter to determine the housing and service needs of the population and facility.

 

Transportation & the Environment

Having a multi-modal transit friendly city that is the “greenest” in the country is something we should all desire and is a top priority for Grosso. Over the course of this year, he has established quarterly meetings with the District Department of the Environment to discuss his priorities, participated on panel discussions with the DC Environmental Network to address waste management in the District, and just last month joined the Anacostia Watershed Society in a river clean-up targeting 25 sites around the Anacostia watershed.  Grosso was pleased that the following initiatives he supported were including in the FY2015 budget:

  • Budget Support Act language establishing a statutory deadline of June 30, 2018 for the District Department of the Environment to adopt and publish a Record of Decision selecting the remedy for remediation of the contaminated sediment in the Anacostia River.  This commitment ensures that DDOE will work quickly and efficiently so that District residents can swim and fish in the river sooner rather than later.
  • $500,000 to conduct a Comprehensive Rail Study to examine the impact of increased population on current commuter rail, the feasibility of expanded commuter and industrial rail, and the impact of privately-owned rail crossing on current and future rail use.
  • Grosso is pleased to report that the Council will maintain the planned 6-year, $400 million investment in the streetcar project and dedicate $45-$65 million of operating funds to the project annually. The Council adjusted the proposed streetcar PayGo transfer from a fixed to a floating base year. 25% of the District’s revenues generated over the previous year, rather than a locked-in baseline of FY15, will be dedicated to support the construction of the new streetcar.  The provision will be implemented in FY2017.  These changes ensure that District residents will reap the benefits of a comprehensive streetcar system.
  •  $187 million towards the H Street bridge, a critical infrastructure project needed for the completion of the streetcar line.  Full replacement of the H Street bridge will be completed before Fiscal Year 2018.
  • $5 million for the Washington Humane Society, which provides the District’s animal control services, to secure a new location and building.

 

Transparency & Open Government

Grosso is fiercely committed to transparency and open government. To advance these ideals, he was successful in getting the following reporting requirements included in the FY2015 Budget Support Act:

  • By October 1, 2014, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer shall submit a report on recommendations for improving transparency of the agency’s budget, including a plan for implementing improvements by the submission of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget to the Council.
  • With the support of the Chair of the Committee on Health, language was also included in the BSA requiring the Department of Health to begin submitting quarterly reports on all grants administered by the agency. During the performance oversight and budget hearings, we heard testimony from many public witnesses regarding the continuous delays with DOH expending grant money. The quarterly reporting will help improve oversight and hopefully grant funding operations at the agency.
  • Grosso also worked with the Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, to include language requiring the Department of Parks and Recreation to submit reports to the Committee on workforce strategic hiring plan to fill 106 vacancies, the development and implementation of a comprehensive complaint in-take database system to quantify and analyze the number and type of complaints the agency receives and report on the status of a system to produce performance metrics.

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