McDuffie Introduces Bill to Help Long-Term Businesses Stay in DC.

Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Introduces Bill to Help Long-Term Businesses Stay in DC

The ‘Affordable PLACE Act’ seeks to address the problem of long-term local businesses – many owned and operated by people of color – from being priced out of DC.

The legislation would create a ‘Legacy Business’ certification, provide for grants and tax abatements to legacy businesses and/or landlords

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development introduced the Protecting Local Area Commercial Enterprises (P.L.A.C.E.) Amendment Act of 2019 or the ‘Affordable PLACE Act’ [B23-432]. The bill supports both legacy and small local businesses by providing technical and financial assistance, incentivizing landlords to enter into or renew leases with legacy businesses, and creating protections to commercial tenants as they negotiate their leases. The legislation would:

  • Establish the Legacy Business Program within the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD).
  • Authorize DSLBD to issue grants to legacy businesses of up to $50,000 per year.
  • Provide an opportunity for landlords to apply for a tax abatement provided they enter into a lease with a an eligible small business.
  • 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.

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“This legislation is the culmination of stakeholder engagement forums, small business visits, and hundreds of hours talking and listening with small businesses. It builds on conversations sparked by legacy businesses such as Sankofa Video Books & Café, who faced a 25% increase in their tax burden over the past couple years. It is for businesses such as the Florida Avenue Grill whose owner testified to experiencing a 400% increase in property taxes.

This legislation builds on my commitment and numerous public statements to put forth a comprehensive approach to address locally owned legacy businesses that are being pushed out due to the increase in property taxes.”

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