On Tuesday, I introduced the “Protecting Local Area Commercial
Enterprises Amendment Act of 2019” or simply the Affordable PLACE Act. The
‘Affordable Place Act’ seeks to address the problem of long-term
local businesses being priced out of DC. Many of these businesses
are owned and operated by people of color. Since the early
2000s, the District of Columbia has experienced a significant
increase in our population which has led to gentrification among
both our residential neighborhoods, as well as business corridors.
The unfortunate reality is that thousands of residents have been
displaced, so too have many of our legacy businesses that have
helped shape the culture of DC.
Businesses that you and I have grown to love and are intrinsically
interwoven into the very fabric of DC have been forced to close or
facing severe economic hardship. Businesses such as Cheers at the
Big Chair, Uprising Muffins, Bazaar Spices, and many others have
closed their doors due to rising taxes and increasingly
unaffordable rents. Legacy businesses such as Sankofa Video Books
& Café, who faced a 25% increase in their tax burden over the
past couple years and Florida Avenue Grill whose owner testified to
experiencing a 400% increase in property taxes are among the few
businesses that have this far avoided displacement.
This legislation builds on my commitment and numerous public
statements to put forth a comprehensive approach to this issue.
This legislation takes four critical steps to support legacy
Legacy Business Program within the Department of Small and
Local Business Development (DSLBD) to create a register of
legacy businesses, promote and raise awareness of legacy
businesses, and provide assistance;
Grants DSLBD the
authority to issue financial and technical assistance to
legacy businesses and to issue business improvement and
stabilization grants of up to $50,000 per year;
with an opportunity to receive a tax abatement provided they
enter into a lease with a legacy business, and pays for
the program by directing any revenue collected by the Discount
Fee to be directed to the Legacy Business Program rather than
to the general fund.
will be required to attend technical trainings, business
workshops, and demonstrate the financial need to become
eligible to receive financial assistance.
The time is now for the Council to
step up and provide a comprehensive approach to address this
serious problem. Local businesses create jobs, provide goods
and services, help maintain a vibrant economy, and importantly
build community. I will be in touch with you as soon as a
hearing date is scheduled. I am asking everyone to rally
behind this bill.
McDuffie Introduces Introduces Certified Business Enterprise (CBE)
and First Source Bill to Address Transparency, Accountability, and
With introduction of this
legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:
becoming Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic
Development in 2017, I have provided much needed and focused
oversight over the Department of Small and Local Business
Development including numerous roundtables and public hearings
regarding DSLBD’s performance—particularly as it relates to
enforcement of CBE participation requirements.
Despite these efforts, public
confidence in the Department’s ability to fulfill its compliance
and enforcement functions continues to erode. In hearing after
hearing, and in my numerous interactions with CBE owners, a common
theme emerges: when it comes to compliance, the CBE program is
McDuffie Introduces Bill to Help Long-Term Businesses Stay in DC