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A new council period starts in January with the swearing in of new councilmembers. Lack of economic growth and slow job creation are the primary policy problems the District faces. Policies designed to facilitate faster growth and the job creation that comes with it should be at the top of the agenda.

 

1. Regulatory Review Act — This is a law that will allow District lawmakers to examine the efficacy of regulations before they are implemented. It will require the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to review costs, benefits, and potential impacts on employment. A very rough draft is can be found below. This effort is a direct response to a recent Economic Growth CapitalDecsion2014 Poll question in which we asked likely voters if they would favor or oppose requiring DC Council members to study the economic impact their proposals will have on DC businesses and residents before they make decisions. 83% of the poll’s respondents favor such a practice.

DC Regulatory Review Act Draft 1

Final Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll Results

 

2. Labor Law Overhaul — The District’s labor laws collectively create perverse incentives that encourage employers to move out of the District once they reach a certain size and a certain number of employees. Economic Growth DC would like to work with the Council to reform our labor law architecture to remove the incentives that cause many growing businesses to move to the suburbs.

 

3. Making the District a Financial Center — The District government should constantly be seeking out opportunities to foster new economic activity. This particular effort will require the cooperation of Congress, but it could provide us an opportunity to become a global player in certain insurance markets, bringing thousands of high paying jobs to the District. The concept is illustrated in the attached paper by Larry Mirel, the District’s former Director of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.

Developing DC as an International Financial Center

 

4. 3D Printing Legislation — The District is only 67 square miles, and the land is very expensive. We will never be a manufacturing center, but due to the birth of an entirely new industry, it is possible for the District to create a specialty manufacturing sector through the use of 3D printing. We’d like to help the Council draft legislation that would make it easy to create and launch a 3D printing business in the District.

http://economicgrowthdc.org/3d-printing-the-district-and-growth/

 

 

 

 

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Economic Growth DC is pleased to release the results of its second and final poll of the District’s 2014 mayoral election.

 

To download your copy of the full poll results, click here:

Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll II Full Release

 

Below is the full press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday, October 20, 2014

 

Press Contact: Dave Oberting – 202.670.4403 – dave.oberting@economicgrowthdc.org

If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at comments@economicgrowthdc.org

 

New Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll II

Bowser Lead Now 12%

Only 7% Still Undecided

 

Poll Must Be Sourced: Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll II

 

WASHINGTON (October 20, 2014) – In the race for mayor of the District of Columbia, Democrat Muriel Bowser leads Independent David Catania by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 45%-33%. Independent Carol Schwartz trails at 12%. Seven percent (7%) of likely voters remain undecided.

Economic Growth DC’s executive director, Dave Oberting, said, “Bowser has extended her lead to 12% from 8% in our first poll which was published October 1st. The first poll showed 27% undecided. This poll shows 7% undecided. It seems that Democrats who may have been on the fence have come home to Councilmember Bowser. Any momentum that Catania might have had seems to have been blunted.”

The poll of 800 likely November 2014 voters was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from October 16th to October 19th. It was conducted using live calls to both landlines and cell phones. The poll used a combination of respondent’s actual vote history and their stated intent. The margin of error is +/- 3.5%.

Bowser and Catania are both popular among the electorate with nearly identical favorability ratings. Voters appear to like the direction of the city, giving it a 57%-30% right track/wrong track score. It is possible that a late breaking event could impact the race as one in five voters is a weak Bowser supporter, but time is running short.

On individual issues like improving the economy and reducing crime and drugs, Bowser’s lead is somewhat narrower, ranging from 3 to 8 points. In response to question important to Economic Growth DC, the electorate thinks Catania would be more successful at working with the business community and creating jobs by a margin of 38%-31%

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Economic Growth DC is a non-profit political and economic advocacy organization focused on the District and its economy. For more information, visit: http://economicgrowthdc.org. Follow them on Twitter @GrowthDC.

 

Contact Information:

Dave Oberting

Executive Director

Economic Growth DC

202.670.4403 phone

dave.oberting@economicgrowthdc.org

1130 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 350

Washington, DC 20036

 

ENDS

 

Greenberg Quinlan Poll Invoice

Check for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc

Contact Information for Methodology or Legal Questions for Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll II

 

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The Economic Growth DC Foundation and Accenture put on Week 2 of the first 8 week module of their basic coding class at KIPP Northeast Academy. The first module makes use of an innovative programming language for young people called SNAP. It was created at the University of California — Berkeley.

Code4Life Week 2

In this photo, an Accenture instructor demonstrates how the X and Y axis are used to position items on the screen.

Code4Life Week 2 -- Student Presentation 2

A KIPPster demonstrates how her first computer program works, showing off her creativity and presentation skills.

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This report from George Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis makes clear that sequestration has had a significant impact on the region’s economy. The loss of federal government and contractor jobs has created headwinds for the region’s economy. The question is why? The answer lies in the enormous dependency the District has on government expenditures. They make up 35% of the District’s economy. The average of the 50 states is 11.5%, so the District is three times more dependent on government spending than the average state.

This makes it especially sensitive to cutbacks in federal spending. Due to the growth of mandatory spending programs, the discretionary portions of the federal budget are likely to remain under pressure for the next generation. That means diversifying away from government spending isn’t just a laudable goal, it’s an economic necessity.

Economic Impact of Sequestration Budget Cuts

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The first official Code4Life class kicked off yesterday.

Code4Life Opening Day Erika Opening Class

 

Thanks to all the volunteers from Accenture who’ve put so much of their time into this effort developing the curriculum and teaching the classes.

Code4Life Opening Day Picture of 1st Exercise

 

No way this happens without them.

And thanks to our faculty adviser, Mr. Baker. He’s done a ton of work helping us get set up and launched.

And finally, thanks to a great group of smart, ambitious young 5th & 6th graders at KIPP NE Academy. We see great things ahead.

For more information on Code4Life, including how you can help, visit the Economic Growth DC Foundation website.

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Like a lot of organizations, Economic Growth DC is interested in getting specific and detailed answers to questions we care about. In our case, that means economic issues. We have attached a draft of the candidate questionnaire we’d like to have the mayoral candidates to fill out. We’re asking our readers and followers to take a look at our questionnaire and give us your feedback, including questions you may have in areas of interest that we might not have covered.

If you are interested in the answers to our questions, download a copy as a .pdf and send it to your favorite candidate. We feel our questionnaire is filled with serious questions that require serious and thoughtful answers. We will not use the responses to endorse any one candidate, but we will use the results to issue a letter grade on how pro-growth a particular candidate is.

In difficult economic times, we cannot let our future mayor go an entire campaign without seriously laying out their economic platform. Help us by telling the campaigns they should answer the questions.

If you would like to take a swipe at the answers, submit them to questionnaire@economicgrowthdc.org. We’ll rank your answers too.

2014 Mayoral Election Questionnaire

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Economic Growth DC is pleased to announce the results of its CapitalDecision2014 Mayoral Poll.

To download the FrederickPolls LLC memo and the full results of the poll, click here:

Final Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll Results

 

Here is the full press release:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Press Contact: Dave Oberting – 202.670.4403 – dave.oberting@economicgrowthdc.org

If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at comments@economicgrowthdc.org

New Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll

Finds Bowser Lead at 8%

27% Still Undecided

Poll Must Be Sourced: Economic Growth DC CapitalDecision2014 Poll

For memo and full results, visit: http://economicgrowthdc.org/CapitalDecision2014-Poll-Results

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2014) – In the race for mayor of the District of Columbia, Democrat Muriel Bowser leads Independent David Catania by 8 percentage points among likely voters, 35%-27%. Independent Carol Schwartz trails at 11%. Twenty seven percent (27%) of likely voters remain undecided.

Economic Growth DC’s executive director, Dave Oberting, said, “This poll shows the race quite a bit closer than what was reflected in the Post/Marist poll released on September 18. Voters have started tuning in and we believe our methodology produced respondents who are somewhat more likely to actually vote.”

The poll of 1,023 likely November 2014 voters was conducted by FrederickPolls of Arlington, Virginia from September 28th to September 30th. It was conducted using live calls to both landlines and cell phones. The poll sampled “super voters” from the 2010 Mayor’s election, plus new registrants since 2010 from a District voter list. The margin of error is +/- 3.0%.

60% of respondents have a favorable opinion of Muriel Bowser, followed by 55% favorable for Catania and 51% for Schwartz. 30% of voters hold an unfavorable opinion of Schwartz, followed by Bowser at 28% and Catania at 26%.

In a head-to-head matchup, Bowser leads Catania 43%-33% with 24% undecided. Oberting commented, “This question surprised me a little. I would have expected Catania to benefit more if Schwartz were to drop out of the race. He actually does better with her in the race than out.”

81% of respondents indicated that it was very important to them that the next mayor bring a new ethical standard rooted in good government to their administration. David Catania was selected as best suited to implement this new standard with 34% of respondents choosing him. Muriel Bowser finished with 33% and 33% were undecided. Oberting said, “It’s no surprise that DC voters are concerned about ethics and the impact that’s had on the city over the last several years, but it appears that a significant number of voters are still undecided on who’s best suited to address those issues.”

83% of respondents would favor a law requiring the DC Council to study the economic impact their proposals will have on DC businesses and residents before they’re implemented. Oberting said, “We’re pleased that the electorate is concerned about the costs that some legislation and regulation impose on residents and businesses. We’re preparing a bill that will call for a cost/benefit analysis to be prepared by the Chief Financial Officer on proposed legislation and rules. We’re glad there’s strong support for that.”

In April, 2014 the Global Strategy Group reported the following question from their polling: “Which candidate is most appealing to you personally?” A candidate focused on more economic growth? Or a candidate focused on less income inequality. Nationally, respondents chose the candidate focused on more economic growth by a margin of 80%-16%. The CapitalDecision2014 Poll asked essentially the same question. Respondents preferred a candidate focused on jobs and economic growth over a candidate focused on reducing income inequality by a margin of 54%-33%. Economic Growth DC’s Oberting commented, “As an organization focused on enabling faster growth, we found that question from GSG to be very interesting. District voters rank growth versus inequality a bit more evenly, but the preference for a candidate focused on growth is still pretty significant.”

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Economic Growth DC is a non-profit political and economic advocacy organization focused on the District and its economy. For more information, visit: http://economicgrowthdc.org. Follow them on Twitter @GrowthDC.

Contact Information:

Dave Oberting

Executive Director

Economic Growth DC

202.670.4403 phone

dave.oberting@economicgrowthdc.org

1130 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 350

Washington, DC 20036

ENDS

CapitalDecision2014 FrederickPolls LLC Invoice

Check for FrederickPolls LLC

Contact Information for Legal or Methodology Related Questions

 

 

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Accenture Logo Revised EGDC Stacked Logo

Code4Life is an after school program developed by the Economic Growth DC Foundation in partnership with Accenture. It teaches basic computer programming skills to boys and girls in the District of Columbia public and charter school systems.  The program launched successfully on September 22, 2014 at the new KIPP NE Academy in Trinidad. It provides instruction in basic coding to a group of 15 sixth-graders.

The class will meet for two hours after school, one day a week for the majority of the school year. A summer immersion program will be offered starting in 2015. Students will remain in the program and working on progressively more complex programming, including a robotics module, until they complete 12th-grade.

Code4Life Kickoff

Accenture developed the curriculum for the program and will provide the instructors for each class. The initial module will be based on a programming language developed at the University of California at Berkeley called SNAP. The Foundation will administer the program, provide operational and managerial support and handle fundraising. The curriculum was designed to scale easily. Assuming initial success, we would like to see the program spread to other DCPS and charter schools as quickly as resources permit.

This is the first program of its kind in DC public schools.

Erika Teaching at Kickoff

Our plans include helping program participants with internships, SAT preparation, and for those enrolling in higher-ed computer science programs, help with applications and financial aid. The program will be considered a success when participants are successfully enrolled in a 4-year college level computer science program, in a technical training program, or successfully placed in a professional technology job upon graduation from high school.

If you would be interested in supporting this program financially, click on the “Contribute” button at the top of this page. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible as a charitable gift.

If you have a technology background and would be interested in volunteering as an instructor, a curriculum designer, or if you’d like to help with communications, please contact us at code4life@egdcfoundation.org.

Code4Life–Coding is a Trade–Let’s Act Like It

 

 

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In his July 4th notebook, NBC4 reporter and dean of the local press corps, Tom Sherwood, wrote that the District’s economy is “firing on all cylinders.” Unfortunately, that statement is somewhat unsupported by the facts and the reality is somewhat more complicated.

All the shiny new restaurants and the plethora of construction cranes have distracted us from what are some fundamental problems with the DC economy.

One serious impediment to taking action is that the economic forces at work in the District have created the illusion of broad-based prosperity, which has bred a fair amount of complacency. The sad truth is thousands and thousands of District residents have not benefited at all from the economic boom of the last 15 years. This reality is reflected in, among other things, a 39% poverty rate for African-Americans living in the District.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the economic and demographic factors driving the District’s economy:

  1. Population — The District’s’ population has grown from 601,767 in 2010 to 646,449 in 2013, which represents an increase of almost 15,000 new residents per year.  There is no doubt that is good news, but according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the boom is expected to decrease markedly from 13,400 new residents annually to 5,400 by 2017. Why is this the case? The CFO points to a slowdown in the construction of new housing units and a slowdown in job growth. The spiraling cost of housing, driven by the lack of supply, is another deterrent to moving to the District that grows every day.
  2. Population by Age — With a median age of 33.7 years, the District is younger than many other states, but the fastest growing segment of its population is residents over 60. As this group continues to age, they’ll put a strain on the healthcare system. Spending more money on health and less on things like innovation will be a drag on growth.
  3. Economic Growth –After growing at a rate of about 2.2% annually for a decade, the growth of the District’s economy slowed to the point that it tipped into what is technically a recession in 2013. The economy declined from $105.99 to $105.47 billion. The rate of growth of the District’s economy needs to accelerate significantly to give us a chance to resolve the broader issues affecting our economy.
  4. Wages – Wage growth in the District has been flat to negative in real terms in recent years for anyone lacking a college degree. Only an economy that grows considerably faster will create the number and kinds of jobs that are necessary to take the slack out of the labor market and put upward pressure on wages.
  5. Diversification – The District derives almost 35% of its economy from federal and local government spending. The national average for the 50 states is 11.5%. Reorienting our economy away from government spending — through the growth of new technologies like additive manufacturing — is a strategic imperative. The federal budget will be under pressure for at least the next generation. The District cannot expect the federal government to continue to carrry us through difficult times.
  6. Unemployment – The headline unemployment rate has decreased slowly but steadily since 2010, when it reached 11.5%. It currently sits at 7.4%, but that number is not representative of the true unemployment picture in the District. The U6 unemployment rate (a broader measure of unemployment that includes people working part-time involuntarily and those who’ve given up looking for a job altogether) is 13.9%. That’s 82% higher that the headline unemployment rate.  When you extrapolate that figure by wards, you arrive at a true unemployment  picture east of the Anacostia river, in the 30% range. The only real chance the District has to push the U6 rate down to a more reasonable number is through faster growth and a vastly improved job training system. If you’re interested in learning more about the true unemployment picture in the District, see this post.
  7. Commercial Real Estate – The District raises the largest percentage of its local tax revenue from commercial real estate. That market is slowing as described in this report from the Downtown Business Improvement District 2013 State of Downtown – All Sections. Among other things, it projects the District will need 7 million less square feet of office space than it has today. This will have wide ranging implications if we are not able to successfully convert commercial space into residential.
  8. Education – Decades of poor educational outcomes and the slow pace of reform also act as a drag on economic growth. When DC residents are ready to enter the workforce, but don’t have the basic skills required to perform their duties, it slows hiring by reducing the pool of available workers. Poor education also lowers productivity gains and productivity is highly correlated with economic growth.
  9. Housing Affordability – Housing in the District has become increasingly less affordable. Businesses that might want to move here sometimes don’t because they want their employees to be close by and if most of their employees can’t afford District housing, they less likely to be based here. Only a significant increase in the supply of housing will fix this issue. For more information on the effects of housing unaffordability, click here.

 

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It is ultimately futile to attempt to overturn the laws of supply and demand. The cost of housing in the District of Columbia is going to continue to rise until it hits a point at which demand levels off. Adding to the supply of as many different kinds of housing as possible, as quickly as possible is good policy. But no amount of rent control or housing subsidies are going to reverse this inexorable tide. Unpleasant to hear, but grounded in reality.

A better approach is to take the typical rent subsidized tenant and help them build their skill set, through improved adult education and job training, so that they can command a job that empowers them to pay market rent.

It might even be sensible policy to take some or most of the money we spend on housing affordability and re-direct it towards more intensive, employer driven job training.

We have searched high and low for solutions to the high cost of housing. We hear politicians and candidates talk about it constantly, but no one has offered a plausible solution based on trying to contain the price of rent or home ownership. This has been a major problem for fifteen years. Some really smart minds have been working on it to no avail. Maybe we haven’t found a solution because there isn’t one, at least in the conventional sense.

As a city, we should take the time to calculate where our scarce resources are best invested. How long would it take to build X amount of “affordable” housing, versus how long would it take to up-skill the percentage of the population that is now dependent on a declining stock of affordable housing? We think the issues are ripe for a rational policy debate. The question is, can we hold one?