City Desk

Protest Over Budget Cuts To Be Held This Morning

At 11:30 a.m., the Fair Budget Coalition and Save Our Safety Net-DC will be holding a rally at the Wilson Building to protest Fenty and Co's proposed cuts to core social-service agencies. After the demonstration, both organizations have planned visits to the D.C. Council. The Fair Budget Coalition boasts a huge roster of committed members and might just represent a return to real activism in the District. Even if you don't care about the homeless or neglected children, you should come down and hear what these front-line workers have to say. They know more than we do about the city's frayed safety net.

City Desk asked two such experts for a rally preview. Here's what they had to say via e-mail:

Patricia Mullahy Fugere, Executive Director of the Washington Legal Clinic For the Homeless:

"Because of the challenging economy, more DC residents are facing poverty and homelessness than ever before. This is exactly NOT the time to be cutting vital safety net programs. The District need not address its own financial woes solely by slashing funding for these important services.There is growing community support for a range of revenue enhancements—including an increase in income tax on the highest income earners—that, if effected, would allow for the safety net to be preserved. Even those who stand to be impacted by such a tax increase are saying 'Tax me more. It's what justice requires of me.' We are calling on the DC Council, as it makes its final decisions on the FY 2011 budget, to do right and do justice."

Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen:

"Nonprofits aren't just nice–we are necessary. We are one of the biggest employer in DC, and our work sets the stage for businesses to thrive. From now on, we stand together."

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  • downtown rez

    There are no available federal stimulus funds this year, and receipts have not yet begun to recover from the economic crisis that started 3 years ago. Viewed in this harsh light, it's worth noting that the dc fiscal policy institute (no conservative group that!) ranks human service cuts at an adjusted 1%.
    This must be compared with other budget categories such as economic development (15% cut), public works (4% cuts), public safety (3% cut), etc.
    It's also worth noting that quite a bit of DC's true human service budget is buried in agency budgets in the form of employees from project empowerment, etc.
    The current budget, while painful, could be a heck of a lot worse for these nonprofits, not to mention the special interests they serve.

  • Manor

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in Washington, people are feverishly trying to refuse $65 million in grant funds for the teachers contract. Maybe these groups could talk to those folks about need.

  • shurl

    Great demonstration today!!! It was great to see so many differnt groups and concerned citizens.

    Please keep up the pressure on Fenty and DC City Council by coming out to the protest tomorrow at Child and Family Services. Fenty is laying off 54 (or more) child welfare workers at an agency that is already overworked and overwhelmed. 54 people who work to protect the abused and neglected children of the District!! Thursday, 5/6 from 12:30-1:30, 400 6th St. SW (L'Enfant Plaza Metro). Please come out and shout out!!!

  • rs

    The city always finds ways to build stadiums for rich baseball owners and a $500,000 dog park for Dupont Circle, but fires hundreds of working class people who make this city run. NO MORE!!

  • Rick Mangus


  • SE Mom

    There's a video on youtube about the cuts to childcare subsidies. It looks to me like the safety net issue really does have an impact on people who are just trying to get by. Here's the link