The Fair Budget Coalition Makes One City Possible
The Fair Budget Coalition has kicked off its advocacy efforts on the fiscal year 2013 budget. A new report from Fair Budget challenges Mayor Gray to “Make One City Possible” for all DC residents by targeting resources on DC’s two most pressing challenges: reducing unemployment and helping residents remain in the city amidst sharply rising housing costs.
Although DC is beginning to rebound from the recession, economic growth is uneven, as in the nation as a whole. The District’s downtown commercial market is strong, yet record numbers of residents are looking for work.
The Fair Budget Coalition’s recommendations center on these two themes: Creating opportunities to live in the District and to find meaningful work. The coalition urges Mayor Gray to restore deep cuts that have been made in the recession, and in some cases, to make new investments in these areas.
Creating Opportunities to Live in the District: The Fair Budget Coalition’s recommendations to help residents afford to live in DC focus on creating opportunities for better housing and health outcomes. They include re-investing in core housing programs, like the Housing Production Trust Fund and the Local Rent Supplement Program, and maintaining the Home Purchase Assistance Programs. The recommendations also branch out to include health concerns, such as ensuring that DC residents maintain health insurance and protecting victims of domestic violence.
Creating Opportunities to Work in the District: With hopes that the District will tackle its high unemployment rate, the Fair Budget Coalition recommends investments and policy changes that will help resident build skills and create prime environments for employment. The coalition recommends restoring cuts to adult literacy and child care, and creating a new pilot program to provide housing to homeless families in job training — making it more likely that the training can be completed. Fair Budget also suggests that DC focus job training efforts on growth industries that offer higher wages.
The Fair Budget Coalition notes that making these investments is critical to DC’s future, and that policy makers should be open to raising revenues, if needed, to support these goals. They offer several revenue-generating ideas, such as requiring two-earner families to report their income together on their tax return, and raising penalties for violating worker protection laws.
The Fair Budget Coalition’s report can be found here.