Monday, October 4, 2010

Here we go again dealing with reduced revenue

Four days into the new fiscal year, Mayor Fenty issued Mayor's Order 2010-160, "Allocation of Spending (FY 2011)", (secure PDF; PDF from which you can copy) which reduces FY 2011 spending by $100.2 million.   Of this amount, nearly $74 million, comes from agencies serving children, youth and families.   It is true other populations are served by some agencies on the list.   The Office of Latino Affairs, for example, makes grants to a range of agencies for any number of projects.   The Department of Mental Health, too, serves adults who are not part of families.

In addition to making cuts in specific areas of the budget (explained in the order), all executive branch agencies must freeze Local funds hiring, freeze locally supported vacancies, and freeze travel and training with some exceptions.   The burden on health and human services agencies, then, is even greater than the $74 million in cuts.

Expect CM Evans to repeatedly point out that human services and public education make up a substantial portion of the budget and thus should bear the brunt of the cuts and freezes.   He is correct in that the human services cluster uses 33.1% of the FY 2011 budget and that public education uses 17.3%.   But as the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and many others assert, such allocations are necessary given the economic, social and educational challenges plaguing many neighborhoods and residents in the District.   In truth, more and not less is required to meet the basic needs of thousands of children, youth and their families.

Source:   Mayor's proposed FY 2011 budget introduction

At the October 4 press conference in advance of the October 5 City Council legislative meeting, Council Chairman Vincent Gray said there will be a public hearing on the Fenty budget cutting plan sometime around the end of October.   Be on the lookout for the notice and additional information in the upcoming days and weeks.

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