...

‘Yes’ to Statehood on Nov. 8

We took another step forward in our fight for statehood last week, with the D.C. Council approving a constitution to go before the voters...

‘Yes” To Statehood on Nov. 8

We took another step forward in our fight for statehood last week, with the D.C. Council approving a constitution to go before the voters...

Metro Must Be Cheap, Convenient, Reliable

I’ve written quite a bit about our Metro system over the past year. On everything from finances to safety ...

Three Top Colleagues Move On

August is usually a sleepy time in D.C. In addition to school being out and everyone taking one last chance to hit the beach,...

Three Top Colleagues Move On

August is usually a sleepy time in D.C. In addition to school being out and everyone taking one last ...

Restoring Metro: By the Numbers

Just over a year ago, I become chair of the Finance Committee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board. Fast-forward a year, and...

Restoring Metro: By the Numbers

Just over a year ago, I become chair of the Finance Committee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board ...

Council Primaries and Priorities

The NBA Finals may have just wrapped up in Oakland, but here in Washington we had a bout of our ...

Jack Evans Report: Secured: $20 Million for the Arts and Humanities

For the past several years, I have pushed my colleagues to increase arts funding to the $20 million level, allowing the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) to fully achieve its goals and help keep the District a vibrant and, more critically, affordable bastion for the arts. I’m particularly pleased that I was able to finally secure $20 million to help support arts education for our children, artists across the city and the diverse community that makes Washington the most dynamic city in the country. This year, the initial budget amount was only $15 million. This significantly increased level of funding will go toward underwriting art projects, paying local artists for their work and expanding arts programs in our schools and neighborhoods. Budgets are about priorities. As many of you know, the arts have long been a high priority of mine to make our city more livable, our education system more robust and our community more diverse. All three of my triplets benefitted from exposure to the arts at a young age. As my daughter Christine finishes her first year at the Parsons School of Design and my son John finishes his freshman year studying art at the University of Pennsylvania, I’m proud that, as a city, we’re able to fund arts programming that will allow even more children to receive similar exposure. (In case anyone is wondering, my daughter Katherine just finished her first year at Elon University. She isn’t studying art, but I couldn’t be more proud of her!) While increasing funding for the arts has long been a priority for me, it’s worth noting this is less than two-tenths of one percent of our budget for the upcoming year. There are many other priorities in our budget that I’m pleased will be funded. As I previously wrote in these pages, the District’s budget once again allocated $100 million to the critical Housing Production Trust Fund; committed our full operating subsidy to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority as we continue to reform and restore our transit system; and will continue to invest more than a quarter of our funding in education. In addition, I was able to continue the tax breaks that the Council passed in 2014. To balance our needs as a city with the return of our increasing revenues to taxpayers, the tax cuts will be implemented as we hit new revenue levels. Recently, we enacted a cut to our unincorporated business franchise tax and an increase in the estate tax threshold. These cuts follow earlier reductions in low- and middle-income personal tax rates and an expansion in the Earned Income Tax Credit, among others. We continue to fund our priorities, improve our city and strengthen our finances. The work never ends, but we’ve made great strides over the past 25 years. Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.

D.C. Wins in More Ways Than One

So far, 2016 has been a great year for sports in Washington, D.C. The Capitals are in the second round of the playoffs, the Nationals have gotten off to a scorching-hot start and the George Washington University men’s basketball team won the National Invitation Tournament. On top of all that, it feels like D.C. sports are just getting started. Bryce Harper had one of the best seasons in baseball history last year, but, given such high hopes, the Nationals’ failure to make the playoffs made the season a disappointment. This year, Harper remains the brightest young star in baseball, and the Nationals are in first place. The team’s prospects seem even better than they did a year ago. Beyond the performance of the Nats, the baseball stadium and Navy Yard area is booming. If you haven’t been to Nationals Park yet this season, be prepared to be shocked by the new restaurants and residential development. We’ve been collecting taxes at a faster rate than we can pay off the bonds used to build the stadium. The success of the stadium deal is clear to see. Last week, we broke ground for the new D.C. United soccer stadium, to be completed in 2018. The new stadium will add to the economic development around the baseball stadium and the Wharf project on the waterfront to make Southwest Washington one of the most dynamic areas in the country. EventsDC, the sports and convention authority for Washington, D.C., is finalizing plans for a sports and entertainment complex in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Ward 8. While the facility will be smaller than the Verizon Center, it will still create hundreds of construction jobs for the next two years — and hundreds more staff positions at the complex, which will host concerts, community events, Mystics games and Wizards practices. It will attract investment and visitors to the Congress Heights neighborhood. EventsDC has also released various proposals for the current RFK Stadium site on the banks of the Anacostia River, including a plan to build a brand new football stadium. The proposal wouldn’t just allow the Washington Redskins to return to their namesake city; it would, like the Verizon Center and Nats Park, spur the construction of new retail, hotels, and businesses, creating jobs for District residents. These sports and entertainment facilities are often criticized because people say the dollars spent on them would just be spent elsewhere in the District. However, unlike essentially any other stadium in the country, the sports facilities in the District attract spending from residents of other jurisdictions — Virginia and Maryland — that (because of tax-collection limitations in the Home Rule Charter) will not generate tax revenue for D.C. unless they buy things, like sports tickets, here in the city. Strong sports teams in D.C. are exciting for us as a community, but, even more than that, they are important to diversify and strengthen our local economy beyond the government sector. We’ve worked tirelessly over the past 20 years to make the District attractive to businesses and residents, and we’re reaping the benefits of a broad, diverse economic base. Go, D.C.! Jack Evans is the District Council member for Ward 2, representing Georgetown and other neighborhoods since 1991.