Councilmember Jack Evans’ Take on the DC Budget Situation

Ward 2 CM Jack Evans on the December 7 gap-closing vote, from his Dec. 10 newsletter:

The Council reconsidered the FY 2011 budget this past week to address the $175 million revenue shortfall and "spending pressures" which came to light earlier this fall, and approved a revised plan 11-2. It was a process filled with difficult choices, made somewhat more difficult by the very short time frame in which we had to act – the Mayor had only transmitted his plan to us just before Thanksgiving. As such, it was always my thought that we probably could not do much more than rearrange some of those priorities and then move forward, which is precisely what ended up happening.

The Council did not adopt any new taxes at this time (in keeping with the Mayor’s proposal), however I believe this and many other issues will be on the table this spring when the new Mayor, Vincent Gray submits his FY 2012 budget plan to the Council. Fiscal Year 2012 will be the far bigger challenge, and Mayor-Elect Gray has stated quite clearly he would like to take some time to thoroughly scrub all agency spending to find efficiencies, re-think priorities, and find cuts prior to considering tax increases. I believe this thorough approach is necessary as well – we cannot and should not casually raise taxes without taking a fine toothed comb to government spending and programs. So, further challenges are ahead this spring. Prior to that, however, the Council will hold its annual oversight hearings in February and March – it will be vital for each Committee to scrutinize every line of every agency budget in great detail.

Kevin Wrege

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

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