For Immediate Release: September 19, 2017
Contact: Rebekah Caruthers, Communications Director: (202) 256-7154; firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Councilmember Robert White on Introducing the Economic Development Return on Investment Accountability Amendment Act of 2017 (EDRIAA Act)
Washington, D.C.— The EDRIAA Act substantially improves the accountability and transparency of the economic development and affordable housing spending in the District of Columbia. The most recent Unified Economic Development Budget Report from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer showed that the District spent nearly $1 billion in public funds last fiscal year on economic development.
To improve upon current law, which has few reporting requirements that help residents assess the success of an investment, the Economic Development Return on Investment Accountability Amendment Act of 2017 would:
- Allow District residents and the Council to more easily quantify and compare the total value and payoff of District incentives going to each project
- Require a complete listing of the requirements imposed on each development because of those incentives
- Require the Mayor to report on the actual outcomes we see from each project for up to five years after the project receives incentives
“Our residents expect public investments to result in tangible benefits that they can see – in new or preserved affordable housing, in employment of DC residents, in opportunities for growth for small and local businesses, in economic growth, and in tax revenue,” At Large Councilmember Robert White said.
“We also know that many large projects change over time – either due to challenges in the zoning process, due to litigation, community input, or changing economic conditions. The amount of housing can decrease, future phases can fail to materialize, or tax revenue can be less than anticipated if offices or retail sits vacant. We have seen these changes everywhere from Rhode Island Avenue to the Grimke School, from McMillan to Skyland. The result for District residents is often confusion and concern.”
“We must remind ourselves that the public investment we make in local projects is done with money collected from taxpayers. Basic prudence and transparency dictate that we make sure our taxpayers know what they are getting from their investments.”
“The EDRIAA Act would allow the Council to more effectively oversee our spending and address failures along the way, while also allowing District taxpayers to judge the return on investment for themselves – not just based on the promises made, but on the actual benefits received.”
The co-introducers include Councilmembers Cheh, Allen, Todd, Silverman, T. White, and Bonds.