WASHINGTON - The cost of living and doing business in the District has become so expensive that a councilmember has proposed using taxes to help small businesses pay their rent.
Councilmember Brianne Nadeau of Ward 1 is pushing a bill to help longtime local businesses pay rent with up to $50,000 a year in grants and loans.
“I absolutely believe if we don’t do something now we’re going to continue to lose the small businesses that we love, that with patronize regularly and that are hanging on by a thread and we probably waited too long,” Nadeau said.
Washington is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. The median home price in the District is $563,000 and the median rent is $2,700 a month, according to Zillow.
While the median income for the area is higher than other parts of the country, that isn’t the case for everyone. As residents and businesses struggle to stay afloat, many are not sure if the rising cost will level out.
One councilmember told FOX 5’s Matt Ackland off camera that while he likes the idea of helping small businesses, it may give a businesses’ landlord leverage to raise the rent even higher.
It’s unclear how many businesses would be eligible for the program or how many would apply so it’s difficult to determine how much the legislation would cost taxpayers in the District.