September 19, 2017

Joshua Fleitman: (Office) 202-724-8191, (Mobile) 202-294-2506, 

Councilmember Todd Prioritizes Students & Families
At DC Council Legislative Meeting

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) introduced the “Universal Free Lunch for All Amendment Act of 2017,” the “Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Amendment Act of 2017,” and the “Farmer’s Market Meter Fee Cap Amendment Act of 2017”.

The “Universal Free Lunch for All Amendment Act of 2017” would provide free lunches for all students in District of Columbia public schools, public charter schools, and participating private schools. With a focus on healthy and nutritious meals, the legislation would bring the District into alignment with other major American cities that offer universal free lunch, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, and New York.

“With many families reporting that they are spending upwards of $50 per student, per month on school lunch, this bill would put more money in the pockets of DC parents, regardless of zip code or socio-economic status,” said Councilmember Todd. “Furthermore, no child deserves to go hungry or be humiliated in front of their peers because they are unable to afford lunch. By providing universal free lunch for all District students, we would end lunch shaming while giving a boost to all DC families. As the District continues to invest in world-class educational facilities, instructors, and programs, we must make this critical investment to ensure all District students have equal access to healthy food at school.”

The “Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Amendment Act of 2017” would reinstate a sales tax holiday for certain school items, beginning each year on the first Friday in August and ending on the following Sunday. The tax holiday would apply to school supplies selling for $20 or less per item; clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $100 or less per item; and personal computers and computer-related accessories purchased for noncommercial home or personal use selling for $750 or less per item. In 2009, the District cancelled its scheduled tax-free weekend due to budget constraints.

“Every year, District parents flock to Maryland or Virginia to take advantage of their back-to-school supply tax holidays; it’s time we level the playing field,” said Councilmember Todd. “Sixteen states offer tax-free weekends for school supplies leading up to the beginning of the academic year. These programs save families money and serve as a boon to local school supply retailers. In light of the District’s strong financial footing, it is time we reinstate the tax free weekend to build on our strong investments in education and support for families.”

The “Farmer’s Market Meter Fee Cap Amendment Act of 2017” would set a daily limit of $50 on the amount a farmer’s market is required to pay in daily parking meter fees to the District Department of Transportation. The legislation comes in response to Petworth Market’s exorbitant parking fees, which were recently brought to Councilmember Todd’s attention and threaten the viability of the Market’s future operations. In the past three years, DDOT meter fees from farmer’s markets have risen from $38,000 to over $157,000.

“Our farmers markets give us so much, and it is time we give back to them,” said Councilmember Todd. “Due to increases in metered parking rates across the District, our farmers markets suddenly find themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars in fees. For example, the Petworth Market’s fees spiked 800% from 2016 to 2017. This is unsustainable, and without action we could risk farmers markets shutting down across Ward 4 and the District, taking with them the locally grown fresh produce, art, craftsmanship, and camaraderie that so many residents cherish.”


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About Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4) is a native Washingtonian and lifelong public servant. He was elected to be the Ward 4 Councilmember on April 28, 2015 in a special election, and re-elected to a full four year term on November 8, 2016. He serves as Chairman of the DC Council Committee on Government Operations, Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee, and is a member of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.