As Americans across the country scramble to get their taxes filed, Washingtonians have an extra reason to be bitter. That’s because DC residents, who lack Congressional representation, pay the highest per capita federal taxes in the nation.
And it’s not even close.
DC residents pay on average over $36,000 in federal taxes, four-and-a-half times the national average. The next highest paying jurisdiction, Delaware, shells out just $16,000 per person.
While some like to point out that the District gets more than it gives in federal dollars, that’s only true because of the high number of federal employees living in DC—their salaries are counted in that total.
In fact, federal discretionary spending makes up only 1 percent of DC’s budget. But that hasn’t stopped Congress from fighting to micromanage DC’s use of all funds, both federal and local.
Last year was the first time that the District government could spend its local dollars with only a 30-day Congressional review, during which Congress has the opportunity to hold an up-or-down vote. And even that was only achieved after years of court battles.
Prior to DC’s legal win last year, Congress had often delayed approving the District’s budget for weeks or months, creating headaches and manufactured crises for city leaders.
The unfairness of the situation is magnified by the fact that Washingtonians have no voting member of Congress. Not a single vote has been cast by District residents for the men and women who will be deciding how that $36,000 per person will be spent.
And in a city with no elected Republican officials—in a city where just 4 percent of last November’s vote went to President Trump—a Republican controlled House and Senate will be making decisions on how to use the money of these unrepresented American citizens.
To quote the old Schoolhouse Rock line, “That’s called taxation without representation, and it’s not fair.”