The Government Shutdown Is Making D.C. Residents Drink More

But an expected uptick in alcohol-tax revenue probably won’t offset other negative economic impacts on the District.

Patrons at Bullfeathers Restaurant watch from the bar as President Obama addresses the nation on Syria on September 10, 2013 in Washington, DC.
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Matt Vasilogambros
Oct. 16, 2013, 11:19 a.m.

The gov­ern­ment has been closed for two weeks now. So, what’s a fur­loughed gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ee or stressed con­gres­sion­al staffer sup­posed to do? Drink, ap­par­ently.

May­or Vin­cent Gray on Wed­nes­day lis­ted the eco­nom­ic im­pact that the gov­ern­ment shut­down has had on the Dis­trict of Columbia. While in­come from al­co­hol taxes in­creased dur­ing the shut­down, the rest of the eco­nom­ic news was not so pos­it­ive. Here are some of the num­bers:

  • $217 mil­lion lost every day from fed­er­al and con­tract­or wages in the D.C. metro area that have either been de­ferred or can­celled. This amounts to 17.6 per­cent of the re­gion’s eco­nomy.
  • $44 mil­lion de­crease per week in eco­nom­ic activ­ity in the Dis­trict.
  • $6 mil­lion de­crease in Dis­trict tax rev­en­ue per week.
  • 7 per­cent de­crease in res­taur­ant traffic in the first week of Oc­to­ber, com­pared with the same week in 2012.
  • 13,000 few­er hotel book­ings in the first week of Oc­to­ber, amount­ing to an 8.3 per­cent de­crease (or $2 mil­lion less) from 2012.

The may­or’s of­fice is still fi­nal­iz­ing num­bers on the in­crease in al­co­hol-tax rev­en­ue. However, it did con­firm that there was a 3 per­cent in­crease in res­taur­ant bever­age sales, which primar­ily con­sists of li­quor, dur­ing the first week of Oc­to­ber from the first week of Septem­ber.


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