DC is Shipping $386M in Wages to the Suburbs by Ignoring New Report

According to a new report from Good Jobs First, the building boom in the District of Columbia is not producing jobs for local residents despite recently strengthened local hiring ordinances.

Taxation Without Employment: The Case for the District’s Strong Local Hiring Rules details how a failure to implement policy has left many qualified local tradesmen and women off of job sites in favor of out-of-state workers.

Researcher Thomas Cafcas said of the report, “The failure of area contractors to employ District residents is shocking. With so much money being spent on public works, taxpayer-subsidized real estate development, and job training in the District of Columbia, it’s important to ensure that those public investments maximize job creation for the city.”

Last year, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray attempted to combat this problem with his First Source program. Yet, results are not being produced at a fast enough rate. According to DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Jobs and Workforce Development, “We have more than 30,000 unemployed men and women in the District, including 4,500 Ward 5 residents seeking work. Based on my conversations with constituents, I believe that many are ready to pick up a shovel and get to work – they just need a chance to prove themselves.”

Eschewing of local hire negatively impacts D.C.’s economy by effectively moving these city dollars to the suburbs where workers are being pulled from. If District residents could find employment at the same rate as their suburban counterparts, 11,500 more people would find their way onto construction sites according to the report. The district’s economy would see an estimated surge of $386 million in additional wages.

The report was commissioned by the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) and can be found in its entirety here.

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