Key Republican wants to ‘start thinking about’ Washington commuter tax

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. National Journal file photo

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said last week that he would consider legislation that allows Washington to institute a commuter tax on people who come into the district to work but live in surrounding areas.

“I think we should, after the election, start thinking about how we’re going to deal with the only place that doesn’t have the ability to tax people who earn their income in that place,” Issa said.

He fell short of actually endorsing a commuter tax, but said Congress should have a hearing on the impact its ban.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman commented on the commuter tax after Washington’s chief financial officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, told a subcommittee hearing that the large number of employees who commute from Maryland and Virginia severely reduces the city’s tax base.

Nearly 165,000 federal workers report to Washington-based offices every day, according to the Office of Personnel Management. The 2000 census found that only 28 percent of District of Columbia workers live in the city. If that ratio holds for the subset of federal employees specifically, more than 118,000 feds could be affected by a commuter tax in Washington. More recent data could alter that estimate, however.

The 1973 Home Rule Act, which allowed Washington to have its own mayor and council, has barred the district from imposing a commuter tax.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s representative in Congress who is not permitted to vote, said she is skeptical a commuter tax could overcome the pressures the Virginia and Maryland delegations would put forth to prevent it.

“This is a war I don’t think can be won,” Norton told the Washington Times.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.