Taxation without Representation

27 Oct

If you’ve just moved to DC then you may not yet realize it, but you are no longer represented in Congress. Thanks to the 23rd Amendment you can vote for president—DC has three electoral college votes—but that’s it. DC does have one delegate in the House, but he/she can’t vote on the floor, only on procedural matters and in House committees. Currently, Eleanor Holmes Norton is the District’s delegate. There are also two “shadow senators” who aren’t recognized by Congress but who lobby for DC statehood.

Why doesn’t DC have taxation? Well, simply put, it’s not a state. The District is a federal territory under Congress. At times, you may feel that politics are prioritized over the city’s citizens, and taxation without representation is a perfect example of that.

In 1778, Maryland ceded land to make DC a state. The constitution specifically did not make DC a state, which opponents of DC statehood argue was done intentionally by the framers. But did the framers intend for the city’s citizens to be denied representation? Probably not. Chances are they didn’t anticipate so many residents living in the capital city.

Opponents of DC statehood also say that it is important for the city to remain geographically neutral. Proponents argue that DC citizens are taxed, subject to laws passed by Congress as well as the military draft, yet they have no voice on the hill.

To become a state, DC would have to be approved by Congress. Not likely—Republicans won’t support the idea of giving voting rights to the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Does the fact that your constitutional right is being violated irritate you? Then I suggest you join DC Vote, a “educational and advocacy organization dedicated to securing full voting representation in Congress and full democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia.”

Fun Fact: In a show of support for the city, President Bill Clinton used the “Taxation Without Representation” plates on the presidential limousine. Bush had them removed.

One Response to “Taxation without Representation”

  1. Leah Ramsay October 28, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out! And for helping educate people about this issue. Without people power, this injustice will never be resolved.

    Leah Ramsay
    Communications Manager
    DC Vote

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