Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Budget update, April 3

  • Budget hearing changes:   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chairman Kwame Brown, chair) has rescheduled nine budget hearings.   The new dates are:
    *Board of Elections and Ethics, April 20
    *Office of the State Superintendent of Education, April 24
    *District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, April 24
    *Council of the District of Columbia, April 27
    *Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, April 27
    *Office of the D.C. Auditor, April 27
    *Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, April 27
    *Office of Cable Television, April 27
    *Office of Budget and Planning, April 27
  • CFSA budget hearing:   The Committee on Human Services (Ward 1 CM Jim Graham, chair) conducted the FY 2013 budget hearing for Child and Family Services March 2.   The prepared testimony of Brenda Donald, agency director, is here in PDF.   You can watch the hearing using this OCT link.   The agency responses to the committee's questions are online here.
  • A Call to Action from Rob Fleming, Editor and Publisher of Progress Notes:

    What?
    Hearing on the Mayor’s proposed 2013 budget

    Why?

    *DC has the worst alcohol and drug problem in the nation (1). One in every nine residents has an Alcohol and Other Drug Disorder. This has gone on for most of the last 10 years (2).
    *This means that nearly everyone knows someone with an AOD disorder.
    *AODD is a treatable brain disease that impairs judgment and underlies a host of other (expensive) social problems, including crime, traffic accidents, homelessness, high medical costs, and low workplace productivity (3).
    *AODD costs every DC resident more than $1,300 in increased taxes (4) and still more in private costs and misery. This means that everyone in DC has an AOD problem.
    *DC has the second-worst gap between those who need treatment (58,000) and those who get it (alcohol gap: 44,000; drug gap: 17,000) (5). DC’s Wards 1 and 2 are among the three worst substate areas in the country (6).
    *Prevention and treatment can save four to twelve times its costs in avoided social services, higher labor productivity, and increased taxes.
    *DC spends only three percent of its AODD budget on prevention and treatment at the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA).
    *Changing this will take a political decision, because the costs and benefits can only be reconciled at the level of the Mayor or Council.
    *Good politicians are responsive to their constituents, and DC politicians hear more about potholes, crime, taxes. They don’t hear about AODD.
    *They need to hear from you. Without your voice, APRA’s budget could be cut and will certainly not get the increase and re-direction we need to get out of last place.

    How?

    *Call or write your Councilmembers. Tell them we need a better, more comprehensive, approach to treating Alcohol and Other Drug Disorder if we want to avoid its costs and capture the benefits of increased sobriety.
    *Testify at the Budget Hearing, Thursday April 5, starting at 10:00 AM in Room 123 of the John Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. Contact Molly Moulton, Committee on Health, at 724-8170 or e-mail mmoulton@dccouncil.us to get on the witness list or go online at http://action.dccouncil.us/page/s/sign-up-to-testify . Even if you do not testify, show up to show support for better AODD treatment.
    *And if anyone asks how we pay the current costs to get these future benefits, tell them that DC’s taxes on alcohol are some of the lowest in the country. Raising them just a dime a drink would raise more money ($42 million) (7) than DC’s entire Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration spends, money raised from those most likely to need AODD services.

    More?
    See the DC Recovery Community Alliance website at www.DCRCA.org/Advocacy

    Sources
    (1) State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health available at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k9State/Cover.htm
    (2) Past results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health are available for download at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH.aspx .
    (3) District of Columbia Epidemiological Profile: Consequences of Alcohol, Tobacco, And Other Drug Use at http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/pubs/20080314.pdf
    (4) Shoveling Up II - The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets (http://www.casacolumbia.org/articlefiles/380-ShovelingUpII.pdf)
    (5) 5 State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k9State/WebOnlyTables/DC.pdf )
    (6) Substate Estimates from the 2006-2008 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/substate2k10/Cover.htm )
    (7) Alcohol Justice Tax Calculator at http://alcoholjustice.org/tax-calculator.html?view=alcoholtax

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