WASHINGTON, DC (April 16, 2020)
— DC2021, a newly formed advocacy group representing the interests of more than 10,000 local Washington, D.C. businesses whose pre-COVID employees total more than 170,000, shared with the D.C. Council a stark view of the economic devastation that restaurants, retailers, hotels, sports, arts and entertainment venues face as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown in the nation’s capital. The group outlined their view of what it will take to restore employment, the tax base and way of life that D.C. residents and visitors experienced before the crisis. DC2021 comprised of nearly 50 members, including civic leaders, restaurateurs, local retailers, hotel owners and the owners of local sports teams and music venues, presented the DC2021 COVID Impact & Recovery Plan, which outlines the actions and immediate assistance needed to protect and restart the economic infrastructure that drives
approximately 30 percent of the city’s economy (estimated to top $20 billion annually) and representing 30 percent of local tax revenue.
"The devastating impact of COVID-19 on our community is unprecedented and far reaching. It is now clearer than ever, how interconnected our city, our businesses, our community and our people are and how much the District's recovery is dependent on the survival of our local businesses," said Monty Hoffman, founding member of DC2021 and Founder and Chairman of Hoffman & Associates. "DC2021 is about our local business community being proactive in supporting the District's recovery efforts, preventing severe unemployment, bankruptcy and lasting damage to District residents."
As part of the presentation to the D.C. Council, DC2021 highlighted that since the initial market shutdown due to COVID-19, over 5,000 D.C. restaurants have closed or converted to delivery only, over half the District’s locally owned hotels have been closed, retail sales have dropped $910 million and all arts, sports and entertainment venues have closed, resulting in the loss over 60,000 District jobs.
The stakes are higher now than ever for restaurant owners,'' said Andy Shallal, DC2021 member and Busboys and Poets Founder and Owner. “This group is bringing together community leaders to provide the long-term solutions our restaurants and other small businesses need in order to recover. With locations in some of DC’s most impacted neighborhoods I can see the urgency that there is for immediate action in order to save the city. I believe this group will help bring back life to the thousands of restaurants that make up the cultural fabric of D.C.”
D.C. 's once-vibrant economy, included $20 billion in annual economic activity from restaurant, retail, hotel, sports, arts and entertainment businesses which have been the most severely impacted by the public emergency and active mitigation measures that have made gathering – the foundation of these businesses – illegal. The local businesses DC2021 represents employ 30 percent of working D.C. residents, who pay more than $600 million in D.C. income tax and include a diverse group of working residents, from hourly workers to local business owners. Together these businesses provide $2.7 billion in D.C. tax revenue. Reopening businesses, putting people back to work and instilling confidence in the community through testing and contact tracing for COVID-19 are imperative to ensure the District’s near and long-term recovery.
“Protecting the health and safety of our community is the unequivocal top priority for all of us in this time of crisis. At some point, we will have to restart activity and make sure we do it safely,” said DC2021 Taskforce Co-Chair and Washington-based venture capitalist, entrepreneur and civic leader Mark Ein. “That is why a critical piece of DC2021’s efforts is identifying areas where local businesses can support government leaders in implementing testing and contact tracing of COVID-19, which will facilitate the reopening of our city in the safest possible way.”
The DC2021 COVID Impact & Recovery Plan details proactive steps to prevent severe unemployment, bankruptcy and lasting damage that would be catastrophic to the District. The impact findings and projections presented by DC2021 and their recovery plan outlined the immediate approach, legislation and actions the public and private sector must urgently take to effectively deliver support to the District and the community as D.C. begins the road to recovery.
Urgent actions outlined in ‘DC2021 COVID Impact & Recovery Plan’ include:
- Secure 1-year tax abatement for restaurant, retail, hotel, sports and entertainment uses $346 million
- Sunset transfer and recordation taxes from 2023 to July 2020
- Eliminate franchise taxes
- Recipient businesses to partner with the District to implement aggressive testing and contact tracing program (potential cost $50M)
- Secure full federal funding of state COVID-19 assistance at $1.25B
- Secure special Treasury Bond up to 20% of District annual revenue (requires local and federal action)
- Utilize ‘Rainy Day Fund’
- Utilize Events DC Fund
“Without these types of actions, we are at serious risk of losing a substantial number of small and medium sized businesses that play a major part in the District’s economy and our cultural identity. This leaves the city the choice of draconian cuts in services and/or a huge hike in local taxes on every District resident,” said Jodie Mclean, DC2021 member and CEO of EDENS. “Congress forbids us from having a commuter tax. The lost revenue which comes largely from tourists and Virginia and Maryland residents will have to be replaced by cuts or taxes unless we can save this sector of our economy and fast.”
DC2021 has already proved successful in identifying and protecting D.C. businesses from an unwarranted “double tax” and has worked to have language added to D.C. Council legislation that would remove any public/private partnership awards from tax liability. In addition to working with the Mayor, District CFO and D.C. Council, DC2021 is supporting Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in her efforts to gain more federal support for the city. The group is leading the effort to correct the categorization of D.C. as a territory in the CARES Act, which would allow the allocation of an additional $750 million in relief funds to D.C. DC2021 was able to influence the recently issued $2.3 trillion in loans through the Federal Reserve for the Municipal Liquidity Facility by adding D.C. as a state designation in this legislation. DC2021 strongly advocated for extending all zoning orders by 12 months which has resulted in a first step of draft amendments that would extend Zoning Orders by six months (Zoning Commission action set for April 27, 2020).
Individuals can support DC2021’s grassroots efforts by calling their local members of the D.C. Council in support of the DC2021 COVID Impact & Recovery Plan.
DC2021 is an advocacy group of nearly 50 local businesses and civic leaders who are working with local and civic trade organizations as well as city and federal officials to support the District and its leaders in saving 10,065 D.C. businesses and 172,399 jobs including 80,000 D.C. resident jobs. DC2021 was founded by Hoffman & Associates’ Founder and Chairman Monty Hoffman and City Partners’ Founder & Managing Member, Geoffrey Griffis.
The growing list of members includes: Akridge Invested, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, Baywood Hotels, Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Bernstein Companies, B.F. Saul Company, Busboys and Poets, Carmen Group Inc., Carr Companies, CityPartners, D.C. United, Donatelli Management, Donohoe, EastBanc, Eastdil Secured, EDENS, Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation, Foulger-Pratt, Georgetown University, I.M.P., JBG Smith, JLL, Lerner Enterprises, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Premium Title & Escrow, Roadside Development, Smithsonian, International Spy Museum, District Wharf, Tiber Hudson, Kastle Systems, Brookfield Properties and Amazon. Members are coordinating with the Federal City Council, DC Chamber of Commerce, District of Columbia Building Industry Association (DCBIA), SWBID, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), Hotel Association of Washington DC, and Destination DC.