Petition Closed
Petitioning Chief of Staff, DC Mayor Vincent Gray Paul Quander and 3 others

Dear Mayor Gray: Thank You for Keeping Your Promise to H Street NE Businesses and Neighbors

UPDATED with great news. We've received word this afternoon that Mayor Gray has decided to use a portion of the funds to dedicate toward their intended purpose -- the growth of our local retail businesses and creating new jobs on the H Street NE corridor. Please continue signing the petition, which is now a thank you message for hearing our concerns.

For background on what the issue is and why we were concerned, here's the initial summary we shared:

 

H Street NE Retail Priority Area Incentive Act of 2010

WHAT IS IT?

This legislation passed unanimously by Council -- chaired by Mr. Gray -- in December 2010.

The law requires that the tax increment already collected from the H Street NE corridor be reinvested in two ways: 1) a new grant program to retain and recruit retail small businesses on the corridor, tied to new job creation, and 2) fund a previously approved, but unfunded, tax abatement for the project at 3rd and H Street, NE.

The City's fiscal impact, accepted by Council, stated that the funds were sufficient and “already recognized in the budget and financial plan”.

In the first year of the 5-year program, approximately $1.4M was budgeted for the tax abatement at 3rd and H Street NE, and $3.5M was budgeted for the H Street NE retail incentive grant program.

The grant program works by supporting targeted retail development on H Street NE (excluding restaurants, bars, phone stores, etc.) and requires that the new developments create jobs and hire Distrrict residents.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED?

The Mayor has recently decided to use the collected tax funds to pay for the tax abatement at 3rd and H Street, NE, but not allow the remaining funds to be used for the H Street NE retail priority grant program.

The funds are available, but the Mayor’s budget office has advised the Mayor to fund the tax abatement at $1.4M this year, but to leave the $3.5M in retail grant funds unspent for the fiscal year, holding them to pay for spending pressures elsewhere in the city’s budget.

WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?

First, it breaks a promise to the businesses and community on H Street NE.  Second, it hurts the growth of retail businesses and job creation on the corridor.

The city has failed to implement two previously Council passed Streetscape Relief Fund efforts. This is another broken promise for these tax-paying businesses.

This action uses the funds collected from H Street owners not to create jobs but to pay for unrelated spending pressures elsewhere in the budget.

With job creation a top priority in the District, this retail incentive program is exactly the type of effort that supports local entrepreneurs and businesses and specifically ties job creation to grant eligibility. It is counter intuitive to take these funds (derived from H Street NE businesses' taxes) away from a much-needed program to pay for overspending elsewhere in the government.

The H Street NE Retail Priority Incentive Act of 2010 provides a program that would be the first of its kind in the city, providing a much-needed model for spawning healthy economic development that is specifically tied to job creation.

WHAT DO WE DO?

We are asking Mayor Gray to keep his promise to the H Street NE community by reinstating the funds needed for this important initiative.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Chief of Staff, DC Mayor Vincent Gray
    Paul Quander
  • Mayor, District of Columbia
    Vincent Gray
  • DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
    Victor Hoskins
  • Chief of Staff, DC Mayor Vincent Gray
    Paul Quander


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