Carrying out the due diligence so that everyone—the local government, residents and businesses—are ready for the day the District of Columbia becomes a state.
The case for the District of Columbia's right to statehood has been made. Now we will answer the practical questions of how statehood would work.
Statehood Research DC will dive into the historical, economic and legal details. Policymakers must understand the historical context. A careful transition process must be mapped out. Policies and regulations will need to be renegotiated with the federal government and all options scored for fiscal and economic impact.
A new government system will be created if and when the District of Columbia becomes the 51st state. We need to ensure that policymakers have everything they need to do it right.
Understanding the context. What was the original thinking behind the legislative and fiscal relationship between DC and the federal government? How has that relationship evolved over time?
Statehood will change DC's business climate. How will DC’s business tax burden under statehood compare to its suburbs? How will statehood impact business perceptions about DC as a place to do business?
A host of legal questions would have to be settled between the federal government and the new state, including whether federally imposed regulations would still stand, how DC's criminal justice system would function, and whether there are other administrative obligations that the federal government should retain for practical reasons.
DC's budget would dramatically change with statehood. How could DC restructure its tax system in ways that were previously forbidden by federal statute? What are the best terms for negotiating new fiscal obligations?
The city's fiscal supports from the federal government has (more often than not) been erratic, unpredictable and declining over time. Rarely have these fiscal arrangements involved much feedback from city leaders about the city's actual needs. Today, the city's own fiscal standing—independent of the federal government—has never been stronger. The city has proven that it has the discipline and wherewithal to manage its finances under statehood.
This report provides a summary and analysis of the circumstances that led the citizens who lived in the area designated as the seat of government to lose their right to vote in 1801, why Congress has only partially addressed this state of affairs in the intervening 220 years, and how the modern struggle for self-determination among Washington, D.C., residents has evolved into the present push for statehood.
Statehood Research DC, which launches today, will answer the more practical questions about statehood by sponsoring research, briefing papers and other education materials.
Mayor Bowser will testify that DC is fiscally resilient, well-managed and can handle taking on statehood.