Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26 budget update

  • DC's children's budget is published:   The Mayor's Office on Budget and Finance has published the FY 2012 children's budget (PDF).   Also available is the presentation used at the youth budget town hall (PDF) May 21.
  • The Arc hits the right note with budget follow-up email to supporters:   Advocacy director Matt Rosen sent an email to partners May 25 about the Council's budget action.   What I most appreciate about the email is the suggestion to thank CMs.
    Hello all,

    With today being the one and only vote on the Budget Request Act and the first of two votes on the Budget Support Act, I wanted to update you on all that happening, especially since we have much to smile about.

    1. DDS’ funding held at the FY11 level as proposed by Mayor Gray and supported by Committee on Human Services Chair Jim Graham. Considering the extensive cuts made to other District services, this is amazing.

    2. The submitted language in the BSA, which pertained to DDA services only being paid for if provided by a Medicaid provider to a Medicaid eligible recipient, was amended to make exceptions for those eligible for the DC Alliance program, individuals who needed services not offered by District Medicaid providers and individuals who lose their Medicaid eligibility because DDS made a mistake as their SS representative payee. The language was created in partnership between The Arc of DC, QT, ULS and DDS. CM Graham included our recommendation word for word.

    3. The submitted language in the BSA, which pertained to charter schools having to account for new money to provide special education services, remained unchanged even though several charter schools testified in opposition. Alison Whyte, Policy Specialist at The ARC of DC, submitted written testimony to Council Chair Kwame Brown asking him to support the original language as it ensured the dedicated funds would be properly spent.

    We hope you will join The Arc of DC in saying thanks to Mayor Gray, CM Graham and Council Chair Kwame Brown for protecting resources needed to serve individuals with intellectual and development disabilities and their families. I have included email addresses for all three below so that you can contact them directly.

    Feel free to send this email out to your networks so that we can all celebrate together.

    We look forward to building on this great work,

    Matt Rosen

    Mayor Vince Gray, vincent.gray@dc.gov
    Council Chair Kwame Brown, kbrown@dccouncil.us
    Councilmember Jim Graham, jim@grahamwone.com

  • CM Bower recaps May 25 budget votes in her weekly newsletter:
    2012 Budget update
    Despite a budget deficit of $322 million, Ward 4 residents can be happy that key priorities, like parks, libraries, police, the grandparent subsidy, and neighborhood schools have been substantially funded. During 56 days of meetings, hearings, and negotiations, my colleagues and I have worked to deliver a spending plan that does right by our neighborhoods and corridors.

    Included in the approved plan, is $750,000 for lighting at Sherman Circle, retention of $150 million for the modernization of Roosevelt and Coolidge High Schools, funding for Ward 4 streets and alleys, and the allocation of $750,000 for Kennedy Street improvements in line with the revitalization plan. Reductions to parking meter rates and residential parking permits fees will benefit many Ward 4 residents, especially seniors. Also, the Metropolitan Police Department is set to receive an additional $10 million for additional officers, and $1.8 million for green and clean teams has been designated.

    Restoration of funding to maintain the E6 bus route was also secured. The route, which provides irreplaceable transportation from Ward 4 to shopping, and medical facilities in Friendship Heights, is relied upon by hundreds of senior citizens—including the staff and residents of an elderly living facility in Ward 4.

    I am also pleased to have worked so closely with Chairman Kwame Brown in the preparation of a budget that funds vital services District-wide. Chairman Brown should be commended for developing a budget that is transparent, thoughtful, restores millions to homeless services and affordable housing programs, and does so without raising the income tax.

    Included in those District-wide priorities is $316,000 to keep the Martin Luther King Library open on Sundays, capital funding for the University of the District of Columbia, funding for 42 additional employees at the Department of Parks and Recreation, and millions for safety net services like temporary assistance for needy families and interim disability assistance, as well as a plan to organize a tax reform commission to study the best way to address issues of taxation.

    I am happy with the restoration of funding for so many key programs but we cannot rest on these laurels. We must continue to look for ways to improve current programs, to do so with fiscal restraint, and to ensure that our Ward-wide priorities are satisfied.

  • Council Chairman Kwame Brown comments on the May 25 budget votes:
    CHAIRMAN KWAME R. BROWN LEADS DC CITY COUNCIL TO UNANIMOUS PASSAGE OF FY12 BUDGET

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed a budget that continues to provide necessary services to residents and businesses, while restoring deep cuts to the critical human services that the city provides to thousands of men, women, and children.

    I want to thank Mayor Gray, Chief Financial Officer Natwar Ghandi, my colleagues on the Council and their staffs, along with the advocates, activists, and residents that made their voices heard on this matter. Faced with serious financial challenges, we managed to do what was necessary to ensure that education, economic opportunity, and public safety remain key priorities as we work to make this city stronger and more sustainable.

    Specifically, this budget restored:
    *$10 million to the homeless services continuum
    *$7 million for homeless families
    *$4.9 million for TANF benefits
    *$1.2 million for IDA
    *$4.1 million to Victim Services

    In addition, we have made the commitment to invest 50% of new revenues in the reserves while the remainder will go to the following:
    *$10.8 to increase the number of uniformed police officers to 3,900 by the end FY12
    *$1.6 million to maintain 175 homeless people in current Housing First units
    *$12 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund for affordable housing
    *$5.5 million for the Department of Mental Health Services to improve services in order to have lift Dixon court order in FY12
    *$3 million for libraries, neighborhood commercial corridors and early childhood education
    *$3 million to restore the parking meter rate to 25 cents per 15 minutes

    Taken together, these restorations and adjustments have made this a better budget. Through hard work and collaborative efforts we have been able to negotiate the budget process with ease, and formulate a plan that we could all agree upon. This is indeed a defining moment for the city’s legislature.

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