Happy New Fiscal Year!
District Dime readers, welcome to Fiscal Year 2012! As many of you know, the fiscal year in which we budget revenue and expenditures differs from the calendar year. DC follows the federal government fiscal year, which begins October 1 and ends September 30. Most other states, including Maryland and Virginia, begin their fiscal year July 1.
So happy new fiscal year, DC!
Why is this significant? Well, for a few reasons. First, it means that the budget for FY 2012 that was detailed in the FY 2012 Budget Request Act is now the spending plan. As well, the additions and changes to DC Code that were part of the FY 2012 Budget Support Act are now law. For example, the income tax on DC residents with taxable income greater than $350,000 will rise from 8.5 percent to 8.95 percent.
It also means that we have the opportunity to perform really diligent oversight over our spending. Usually the public debate about how we can be more judicious and efficient with our spending occurs in April, when the mayor releases his budget proposal for the next year and we’re more than half-way through with the current fiscal year. But right now is an even better time to start that discussion, when we’re just getting going. Some council members, such as At-Large Council member David Catania, have suggested that the Council needs to consider the budget a year-round exercise, not just a two-month endeavor. We agree.
There’s sound logic to thinking this way, because planning for next year’s budget is already starting. Last week, the mayor’s budget team held the annual budget kickoff to begin the shaping of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission. Performance and oversight hearings don’t happen until this spring, but now’s a perfect time to take a microscope to programs and services we care about. While it is too early to tell what fiscal conditions the city will face in Fiscal Year 2013, weakness in the global and national economies suggest that the District will not have lots of extra resources – if any – to address its long list of policy priorities and needs.
The District Dime will keep you informed about updates and hearings on areas that we focus on, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Affordable Housing, Economic and Workforce Development. Let us know how we can help you understand the budget better.
Let Fiscal Year 2012 be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for the District of Columbia!