WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia's only member of Congress, Walter Fauntroy, urged city residents Friday to join him in withholding their federal income taxes to pressure Congress to make the city the 51st state.
Democrat Fauntroy, the city's non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives since the position was created in 1972, asked city residents to file federal tax returns but withhold payment of federal taxes and place the money in an escrow account to be established by a group called "Taxation Without Representation Committee."
Fauntroy vowed to continue the protest until a D.C. statehood bill is passed by Congress. The bill, considered a long shot to pass, would make the city a state and give city residents their first voting representation in Congress--two senators and one member of the House.
"Like all Americans, the people of Washington, D.C., are not different when it comes to sharing the burden of taxation," Fauntroy said. "Indeed, district residents pay more taxes per capita than the residents of every state in the union except one, Alaska."
He said all records of tax returns and payments would be sealed, and he hopes to get $1 million in unpaid taxes into the account.
Criminal penalties for failing to pay taxes include up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine.