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Vote Yes on 8 - D.C. Budget Autonomy

On April 23, the voters in the District of Columbia for the first time have the opportunity to speak out for budget autonomy. This is a vote for local control of the nearly $6 billion in funds we raise from taxes without Congress's pre-approval. Currently after our annual budget is approved by the Council and signed by the Mayor it goes to Capitol Hill for Congress's review before it becomes law. While it would be nice to fight at the same time for legislative autonomy the thought is that Congress may actually give us the right to control our own local budget before they give up the right to second guess our laws. This referendum was put on the ballot by the D.C. Council and it isn't the first time they spoke up for budget autonomy. The last time they did so they advocated for a bill which got hung up in the Senate when ultra-conservative Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) added amendments on guns, labor unions and abortion making the final bill untenable to the District. However this is the first time this issue has been put to a referendum where the people have a say. If Referendum 8 passes it will amend the language in the 1973 Home Rule Charter to give the D.C. government autonomous control of local tax revenue. The change would go into effect unless Congress and the president block it. Under the new process Congress would still have a 35 day review period for the D.C. budget but it would have to vote retroactively to amend the funding proposal rather than voting to pass it outright. This is a more difficult scenario to get through the Congress. While there are definitely issues with this referendum which were brought up by Attorney General Nathan and Mayor Gray, including the fact that this may not be legal under our Home Rule Charter, Mayor Gray has endorsed the measure. Whatever the final result of this is there should be no doubt about the people's desire to have budget autonomy. For that to happen people need to come out and vote yes on Referendum 8. We need to say in a loud and clear voice to Congress that the time for 'taxation without representation' is over and that the people of the District of Columbia demand to be treated fairly. As a means to attract attention to the cause and let people know that they should go out and vote, activists led by D.C. Vote have created the D.C. Budget Freedom Committee, through which they will accept donations, put up yard signs and otherwise run a normal campaign in favor of the referendum. The referendum has been endorsed by a wide variety of groups including the DC Association of Realtors; DC Democratic State Committee; DC Fiscal Policy Institute; DC NAACP; DC Republican Committee; Greater Washington Urban League; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; League of Women Voters; and the National Organization For Women; among countless others.Join them and make your voice heard by voting YES on Referendum 8 on April 23.