Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20 budget update

  • The Council's May 19 budget negotiation continuation meeting was cancelled.
  • Mayor Gray's FY 2012 children's budget will be presented at the May 21 youth budget town hall meeting.
  • Confused about Homeless Services Budget? These Five Facts May Help is a must-read for those involved in the budget or interested in the issue.   Another winner from DCFPI.
  • The May 19 Commentary by Rabbi Jessica Oleon: I'm Ready To Invest In A Great City on WAMU urges the council to balance the budget with an unusual message:   "Raise my taxes."   Oleon is Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai in NW and a Board member of Jews United for Justice.
  • The Washington Times covered the May 18 Reality Tour in this article, Needy go to D.C. city hall to protest cuts.
  • WAMU's Patrick Madden covered the May 18 Reality Tour in this report, D.C. Council Chair: 'I'll Do Everything I Can' To Restore Homeless Shelter Cuts.
  • SOS's report of the May 18 Reality Tour is blogged here, Safety Net Reality Tour Hits the Halls of the Wilson Building.
  • Sign-ons are needed for a letter to Council Chairman Kwame Brown.   DC Fiscal Policy Institute and others are urging the Council to release the final budget proposal that will be considered by the full City Council at least 24 hours before the May 25 budget vote.   Such a release would be new for the Council; usually, the budget is shared with CMs and staff and the public only hours before the vote.   This leaves residents little time to understand and respond to important issues on how limited resources will be used to meet a diverse set of needs in the District.

    To sign on to the letter, email DCFPI's Jenny Reed, reed [at] dcfpi [dot] org by May 20 at 4:00 pm.

    The letter is below and here (Word, .doc).

    May 20, 2011

    The Honorable Kwame Brown
    Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia
    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20004

    Dear Chairman Brown,

    We the undersigned organizations and individuals are writing to ask that you release the final budget proposal that will be considered by the full DC Council at least 24 hours before the May 25 budget vote. This would give both DC residents and other Council members the time needed to review and understand the final budget proposal.

    As you know, the budget passed by the DC Council impacts every District resident. The Council typically makes significant changes to the Mayor’s proposed budget, and many of the most important decisions are made after the final public hearings on the budget. In recent years, the final budget that comes before the Council has not been released to the public or even to the DC Council until just a few hours before the vote. This leaves residents little time to understand and respond to important issues on how limited resources will be used to meet a diverse set of needs in the District.

    This year, more than most, the District’s leaders face a number of decisions over how to preserve services in the midst of a serious revenue shortfall. Because the Council votes just one time on the Budget Request Act — the main legislation dictating how funds will be spent — the reality is that almost nothing can be changed after the vote on May 25th.

    We ask that all FY 2012 budget documents that will be reviewed and/or acted on by the full Council be made available to the public at least 24 hours prior to the start of the May 25th legislative meeting to take action on the budget. This includes, but is not limited to, the Committee of the Whole Budget mark-up report, the Budget Support Act, and the Budget Request Act.

    The public deserves the right to review how the Council plans to allocate resources that affect important services more than just a few hours before the vote is taken.

    Sincerely,

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