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“Guest Comment: ​D.C. Council Should Rethink Paid Leave Act”

Washington Business Journal David Brunori

Below is an excerpt:

Nearly everyone agrees that providing employees time off to care for an ill relative, an elderly parent or a newborn is a good thing. But the D.C. Council should seriously think about whether the proposed Universal Paid Leave Act is the right approach. While the desired outcome is good — the law, if enacted, will likely have serious unintended consequences.

The first problem is that the new law will levy about $246 million in new taxes. Is that a lot? That is about what the city raises from taxing corporate income. And, since the law will not pay out benefits for a year after the taxing starts, that is going to be a quarter of a billion dollars taken directly out of the economy. That quarter of a billion dollars will not be spent on salaries, equipment or other taxable transactions. At this time, the city faces other budget issues, Medicaid, a lingering Metro funding problem and uncertainty about federal employment under the Trump administration. Is the council sure, this is the time to spend so much?