FY09 Budget Toolkit

The DC Budget Toolkit is designed to help you understand the budget of the District of Columbia and follow the annual budget process. Users can find out how much is being spent in different areas, compare spending to previous years, and obtain the tools necessary to get involved in the budget process.

The Toolkit tracks spending from the release of the baseline budget in February, to the release of the mayor’s budget request in March, the District Council’s consideration (or “mark-up“) of the budget from March through May, and the budget’s final submission to the full Council for a vote in June. It has two main components:

1. Budget summaries with charts and explanations of key funding changes, including the impact on services for District residents.

The Toolkit contains a summary for the entire budget proposal, a summary of the final DC budget, and summaries of some key issues affecting low- and moderate-income families, such as:

Child Care
Education
Employment/Training
Energy Assistance
Healthcare
Housing
Taxes
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

2. Downloadable Excel spreadsheets that show the change in spending by appropriation title and by agency.

How Can You Use the Toolkit?

  • Download budget summaries to use as a reference. Regardless of how you participate in the budget process or whether you simply observe, you can use the budget summaries as a quick reference for information on the budget as a whole and on the issues that specifically concern low- and moderate-income DC residents. Also, if you are knowledgeable about a particular area of the budget but want to know how other areas are faring, the budget summaries can help.
  • Use the spreadsheets to do your own analysis. Don’t take our word for it — look at the numbers for yourself! Find out where the funding increases and cuts are, then use the budget summaries to find out if those funding changes will mean more or fewer services for DC residents. Also, find out how different agencies have fared over the past few years. (We’ve adjusted all past budget figures for inflation to allow for an appropriate comparison between budget years.)
  • Download relevant reports by DCFPI and other organizations. Year round, DCFPI performs research and analysis on the District’s tax and budget policies, particularly as they concern low- and moderate-income DC families. These reports provide valuable context for examining the DC budget. In addition, DCFPI works with a number of organizations through the Fair Budget Coalition to assess the budget’s impact on human needs — including child care, health care, and homelessness — and to produce a tally of budget needs for low- and moderate-income families. You can access this year’s report using the Toolkit.
  • Get involved in the budget process. Use the Toolkit to find out how to do everything from getting a copy of the budget, to attending a budget hearing, to contacting local officials.

Tell Us What You Think of the DC Budget Toolkit

We’d like to know who you are, how you are using the Toolkit, whether you find it helpful, what we should add, and what we can take away. Email us and let us know what you think.

The DC Budget Toolkit was last updated on 4/7/08.