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Small Business Legislation – Sept 2019 update

Several pieces of legislation have been introduced in the past month that would reduce the tax burden on long-standing businesses in the District.

Do you have thoughts on how this legislation could impact your business, or recommended changes to make it work better for you? Contact CHAMPS at with your suggestions.

Two measures were introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen (info below from 9/17/19 press release), and a separate but overlapping measure was introduced by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (info below from 9/17/19 press release)

Small and Local Business Assistance Amendment Act of 2019 by Councilmember Charles Allen

This bill aims to ease the burden of rising property taxes that small business owners report as one of the most significant rising costs to doing business in the District of Columbia in three ways.

  • First, it creates a tax credit of 20 percent (capped at $10,000 annually) for rent paid or property taxes paid by a small, local business – which closely follows the Schedule H tax deduction for residential tenants by allowing tax relief based on the amount of a tenant’s rent that go toward paying the landlord’s property taxes. This will provide relief to local businesses who are feeling the pinch when rising property taxes are passed on from the landlord to their small business tenant.
  • Second, it would provide property tax relief to landlords who choose to rent all or a portion of their space to small, local businesses rather than a national chain – those properties would receive a 10% relief off of the total value of the property, capped at $100,000.
  • Finally, it would create a Small and Local Business Credit Enhancement Program within the Department of Small and Local Business Development to provide credit enhancement services for small and local businesses. The bill specifies one program in the bill – a rent guarantee for up to three years that will provide incentive for developers to lease their space to small and local businesses. The rent guarantees would be 100% in year one, 50% in year two, and 25% year three.
  • The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers McDuffie, Todd, Trayon White, Robert White, Nadeau, and Evans. It was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Silverman and Grosso.

This bill would provide assistance for “longtime resident businesses” that have been operating in the District for at least 20 years, or 15 years in the case of smaller businesses. Businesses would have to show their continuous operation and support from the community it has served. Businesses that meet the criteria would be placed on a registry and be eligible for:

Longtime Resident Business Preservation Amendment Act of 2019 by Councilmember Charles Allen

  • grants up to $1.5 million or low-interest loans up to $2 million for repair or replacement of historic signs and facades or heavy equipment, other capital improvements, and operating costs and approved by the Department of Small and Local Business Development;
  • rent stabilization payments of up to 10 percent of the average commercial rent for the census tract, if the longtime business is at a substantial risk of displacement.

This was inspired by a legacy business program in San Francisco. The District started a similar grant program this year, but this legislation would greatly expand the eligible businesses and the benefits provided. It would create a fund to provide the capital for grants and loans.

The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers McDuffie, Todd, Evans, Robert White, Nadeau, Trayon White, Bonds, and Cheh. The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Silverman and Grosso.

Protecting Local Area Commercial Enterprises (P.L.A.C.E.) Amendment Act of 2019 or the ‘Affordable PLACE Act’ [B23-432] by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie

Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development introduced the 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.


High School Is a Waste of Time and College Is a Scam…Unless You Have Study Skills 

WASHINGTON (February 18, 2019) – Parents struggling to find ways to ensure their child is armed with the necessary skills to succeed in college have a new resource to avoid any costly academic crises. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, This Book Will Not Be on the Test: The Study Skills Revolution, is part on-the-ground college insider tell-all memoir and part study skills Bible backed by cognitive and educational psychology.

“Considering the amount of money spent on college, it’s criminal that most students never learn how to learn, even though they’re expected to do it like a job,” said author Paul Smith Rivas. “Most kids won’t hit the ground running in college — not because they don’t study, but because they don’t know how to study. I wrote this book to give students the methodologies and practices needed for real success, complete with practical “science of learning” techniques like writing your own explanation of what you’re learning and connecting it to what you already know.

Written by Paul Smith Rivas, the book also alerts parents to a huge problem in American education today – that high school doesn’t prepare students to thrive in college and a jumbled, ad-hoc approach to learning will cost them money and valuable opportunities.


Rivas is the director of SMITH RIVAS Study Skills & Academic Coaching, a Washington, D.C.-based academic accelerator founded in 2014 to help students earn better grades in less time. SMITH RIVAS takes research about how people learn and translates it into practical study skills that students can use to succeed in their classes. Before discovering the value of study skills towards the end of a 20-year career at UC Santa Barbara, Rivas spurned Stanford for a full academic scholarship to UCSB, where he triple-majored in math, sociology, and Spanish while working 10-50 hours per week in the Athletic Communications office.

The book has an astoundingly diverse list of endorsers, including bestselling author on productivity Daniel Pink, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, science of learning experts author Ulrich Boser and Dr. Stephen Chew, several former professional athletes, and a graduate of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Offering explicit study skills solutions for the academic, financial, and mental health problems caused by this unfortunate reality, This Book Will Not Be on the Testhelps families, teachers, and administrators have more rewarding experiences in schools. Everyone will recognize their college-bound students in several of the chapters.

Request a review copy of This Book Will Not Be on the Test or an interview with the author by contacting Paul Smith Rivas directly at (202) 615-7791,, or Rivas is also on Twitter and Facebook @SmithRivasDC.

Media Contact: Jon-Michael Basile Email: