City Desk

What the 2010 D.C. Budget Will Probably Look Like

The D.C. Council this evening finished their discussions on closing a $666 million budget hole through October 2010. It now falls to Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray to craft a plan that works, based on what he heard in the conference room over the last three days. LL was not in the room today, for the most part, but based on conversations with numerous members and staff, this is what is likely to appear in Gray's bill. On Friday, when the council takes up the bill, members will of course be free to amend this.

On the revenue side:

  • A sales tax hike from 5.75 percent to 6 percent—deemed a surcharge that will expire after three years: $20.8 million
  • A gas tax hike from 20 cents a gallon to 23.5 cents a gallon (matching Maryland): $3.5 million
  • A 50-cent per-pack hike on cigarette taxes: $9.7 million
  • Delaying indexed increases to income tax standard deduction/personal exemption: $5.2 million
  • Raising D.C. government worker parking fee from $80 per month to $160 per month: $1.2 million
  • Various license and permit hikes: $5.1 million

Budget cuts, which total about $103 million over what Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had proposed. Here's a few notable items:

  • No earmarks. Period. $8 million
  • Decrease police officers through attrition: $4.5 million
  • Freeze uniform per-student funding formula for public schools at FY09 levels: $13.4 million
  • Reduce summer school enrollment by 50 percent: $16.6 million
  • A limited summer jobs program: $20 million
  • Cut Access to Justice program, funding civil legal service to the indigent: $900,000
  • Reduce library spending on books and media: $846,000
  • Implement new TANF sanctions/incentives: $3.6 million (versus mayoral $6.1 million cut)
  • Reduce parks-and-rec spending on property management (grass-cutting, etc.): $4 million
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  • http://dcdl.org KCinDC

    Why is the council implementing all these regressive tax increases, but dismissing Graham's millionaires' tax? The standard deduction and personal exemption are low enough as it is, but now they're going to be allowed to erode further through inflation, while the idea of implementing a new 8.9% bracket above the 8.5% one, for people who are clearly not suffering that badly during this recession, is completely off the table?

  • Q

    I agree KCinDC. This is nickel and dime approach LL is reporting. Doubling the DC Govt Parking Fee? Wow, that's impressive. I'm sure Lanier is not quite happy about losing officers to attrition.

    Increasing TANF... the jury is out on that one. I wonder what the current summer school enrollment numbers are to warrant a cut for next year.

    I guess DPR is going to invest in goats to remedy the grasscutting It worked for The White House many years ago.

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  • Angry Al Gonzales

    New revenue sources: luxe box Verizon Center - $1.5 million; luxe box Nats park - $750,000. Stealing from poor towns in the DR - $11,000.

    Total additional revenue: $2,261,000.

  • DC taxpayer

    EXACTLY Angry Al

    Start the petition...

  • AngryER than Al

    So the Council lets the Mayor come in and spend RECKLESSLY making EVERY agency in the city go over it's budget in a matter of minutes and now here we are, two years later and you think WE, THE TAXPAYERS have to pay because you can't control him? Well I already knew Iwasnt voting for Fenty again. Now I can add more names to the list. You all are no better tha the fool... otherwise you woud have been able to keep him under wraps.

  • Skipper

    So all DC gov't employees get to pay more for their parking (which is perfectly fine by me) EXCEPT that Councilmembers - who are already exempt from all parking laws - don't have to pay for their free parking outside the Wilson Building?

    WTF?

    Would it really be too much to ask the Councilmembers making well over $100k to fork over $160 a month for parking?

  • Downtown Rez

    Cutting back on summer school and jobs, but perpetuating TANF?
    Those are our priorities?

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Let's send Moten, Skinner, & Jannarone to the Carribean to steal some more money. There must be a few hundred towns with > 50,000 in population. 300 towns x $11,000 = $3,300,000.

  • Downtown Rez

    Half a percent here ($3.3 Mil), almost half a percent there ($2.261mil), pretty soon you'll almost be 1% of the way toward closing the 2010 budget gap!

  • Q™

    Downtown Rez, somebody needs to call Kojo Nnamdi and get you a spot on the show. I don't think the right amount of people are listening. It seems that only a few of the bloggers see this ruse of a Budget Cut.

    Angry Al, like was said before the luxury boxes at the Verizon Center and Nationals Field are only scratching the surface. Those two items deal with the APPEARANCE of frivolous spending. As citizens, we need to deal with the ACTUAL Spending. Skipper is right about the other perks too, like parking. If the Councilmembers, AG, etc. were subjected to the same draconian parking enforcement citizens are, we'd be well on the way of closing the gap by 2%. LOL!

  • Tom

    This is where DC really misses Carol Schwartz, these guys have no sense of fiscal conservation. I wish i could spend and spend and spend, and then tell my employer to pay me more money! After reviewing the budget and past years budget, it is completely bloated. This city is in no one concerned with saving the taxpayer money.

  • Q™

    Tom, you are correct. The Council is missing Schwartz in this case. Neither Catania (a former Republican), Mike Brown, nor Evans are footing the bill in conservative spending.

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  • dbrighthaupt

    @DowntownRez -
    You are reading a lot of parents minds. Summer Employment is a proven catalyst toward goal setting and independence.
    This being a goverment/war town there are no shortages in summer youth employment OPPORTUNITIES.
    Could there be reps/coachs/cheerleaders to sell the program throughout the year as an opportunity value in itself? School clothes/supplies and IPod money would be great, though where I see value is getting up every morning, commuting to familiarize themselves with public trans but also to explore the city outside their comfort zones (with a purpose and not to loiter);
    to see the city differently than they had throughout the school year along with exposure and access to business etiquette.
    And dare I say a trade that may turn into a career along with a growing diverse rolodex is absolutely priceless.

    My pontificated point is - how can Fenty, this agency and parents work together to find other incentives to expand or sustain this valuable resource - maybe more weeks, less money and a 1/3 credit grading process through their Life Skills course?

    Maybe more pay for the A and B grade earners?

    I guess all I could have said is less summer employment for our youth will in fact turn into the need for more TANF in the near future.

    @Q - I MISS SCHWARTZ!!! She dared to question and confront where noone dared.

  • downtown rez

    dbrighthaupt-
    I agree on the summer jobs thing- it does provide a potential boost to future success. My sole real problem with the program is that, in practice, 30,000 DC gov employees have little real ability to MANAGE 20,000 summer youth. Not if said government workers are to keep doing the work that they are paid to do in the first place. And I don't see a way to get around that.
    None the less, it only makes sense that (going back to my first point) better schools + practical on-the-job experience = less TANF in the future. And since TANF in DC has been perpetual & expensive (in many ways), it should be a priority to dig ourselves out of that hole.

  • dbrighthaupt

    @downtown rez - from your response am I to understand that the only summer job participants are government offices?
    Surely private entities participate and if so, my thinking was solicit more to help eleviate ...shucks use guilt filled please if need be.

    Have the workload planned well ahead of teens' arrival (spring)--don't think of what to give them every morning. It is my experience that training an adult temp for a day wastes just as much resource.
    Gosh I'm a big idea person and have plenty more to keep our teens off the street, i.e., ROTC Seniors to 'test drive' the armed forces boot camp or administrative functions (or peel potatoes while learning why this task is so important) ROTCs incentive would be travel to another state's base and a stipend when over.
    Band members placed in orchestra theatre type places = half the pay but all the cultured shows free (Kennedy Center/Wolf Trap)
    The summer months are usually sparse because of vacationers so students could idealistically float around a business for 10 weeks which is the best way to know most aspects of a company/agency.

    I know I'm not the first to think of these things and it is quite discouraging to believe the powers that be aren't implementing broader possibilities for the youth.

    Thank you so much for responding diplomatically. I'm sure you can imagine I hesitate to engage.

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