Jack Evans Report: Every Day Is Small Business Day


I always enjoy this time of year. The holidays bring everyone together (something particularly important to the father of a college freshman). And even as the temperature drops, decorations, good cheer and holiday markets are popping up to keep the city vibrant.

I also enjoy the end of the year because it provides an opportunity for a little reflection. As I saw neighbors and visitors patronizing businesses in Georgetown and all across the city on Small Business Saturday, I couldn’t help but reflect on the changes the District has experienced over the past several decades.

A few weeks ago, I attended a celebration of the 20th anniversary of business improvement districts in D.C. The BIDs are associations of property owners who have joined together to revitalize, maintain and enhance neighborhood business areas.
When I introduced the legislation to create the BIDs 20 years ago, the role of these organizations was very much to revitalize our neighborhood business areas. The District government was nearly bankrupt, our communities were suffering and more businesses were closing their doors or leaving D.C. than looking to open.

What a difference time makes! Small Business Saturday was truly an opportunity to see how far we’ve come in revitalizing our local business climate. From Georgetown to 14th Street to historic Anacostia, small businesses are thriving in D.C. With the help of BIDs, committed residents and business owners, and a lot of hard work, we’ve built stronger communities and a broader tax base.

Readers who have heard me speak recently have probably heard me say that the District of Columbia is in a better financial position than any other city, county or state in the country. The substantial growth in the number of small businesses has certainly helped.

I have the firm belief, however, that we would be doing even better if we had a more straightforward business regulatory structure. We’ve made great strides in the past two years to lower the tax rates on nearly every resident and business in the city, but we have to keep working to roll back some of the administrative barriers and tax burdens facing those who want to start a business here.

As we work to make it easier to start a business in D.C., we must continue to support the businesses in our neighborhoods. This past Saturday was a great day to focus on small businesses, but every day should be a small business day. So, as you are enjoying the holiday season, remember to visit the wonderful holiday markets filled with local vendors and artisans and our great small and local businesses.

Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.

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