April 20, 2010

Taxation Without Representation

"No taxation without representation" is a phrase that should be familiar to all Americans, as it harkens back to the Revoluntionary War in the late 1700s.  If you're a bit rusty on your U.S. history, the British colonialists in the newly-born United States of America were protesting taxes levied upon them by the British government, even though the colonies were not being represented in Parliament.  Seems fair enough, right?  You can tax us as long as we are represented and have a say in the allocation of said taxes.

Unfortunately, as basic as this tenant seems, the District of Columbia does not have a voting representative in Congress.  The District is a federal territory, not a state; arguments for and against allowing the District to have a vote in Congress are met with constitutional and/or political challenges.  For years, the debate has raged on; residents of the District are taxed (trust me) by the local government as well as by the Federal government, yet we have no say in the Congressional branch of our government.  The slogan "Taxation Without Representation" is even printed on all DC license plates.

Recently, it seemed like we were on the verge of a Congressional vote becoming a reality; a bill was presented in the House of Representatives concerning placing a voting delegate in Congress.  However, today we learned, according to Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), that the proposed DC-voting rights bill will be pushed back until another session of Congress.  You can read the article from Roll Call newspaper here.  While Representative Hoyer says that he is "extraordinarily disappointed" that the bill has been pushed back, there was an attachment to the bill regarding DC gun laws which caused a high level of controversy (the rider to the bill would have decreased the regulations of the DC gun laws).  Sad day for DC, but life goes on.

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