Budget Toolkit

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Toolkit

This year’s budget was one of the most important in DC history, as residents faced unprecedented health care needs, fell behind on rent, struggled to keep their businesses afloat, and lost ground in remote learning. The need among DC’s Black and brown communities, particularly women of color, is severe due to years of policies and practices that disadvantaged them and privileged white residents in employment, education, and wealth building opportunities. The District needed to prioritize new and bold investments to address the greatest harms of the pandemic, advance equity, and boost our long-term economic prospects. Read more about the Black burden of COVID-19 and Budget Principles for a Strong and Equitable Pandemic Recovery 

Analysis of Key Issue Areas

Every service DC provides, such as trash collection, public education, and community centers, appears in the budget every year. The budget is the central tool for addressing challenges like widening racial inequities in access to affordable housing, quality health care, and educational opportunities. See below for deep dives into how DC lawmakers invested in each issue area. 

American Rescue Plan

In March 2021, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The District was allotted $3.4 billion in direct federal relief funds, some targeted to specific needs like child care or schools, but most of it flexible dollars that the Council had the opportunity to use to address the deep harms of the pandemic.  

In May, DCFPI and 76 other organizations sent Mayor Bowser and the DC Council a letter urging them to use the ARP funds on intentional investments and interventions in a timely way, with a laser focus on targeting those most in need and addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis.  

Absent the federal dollars, the District’s budget would have severely fallen short of reducing hardship and jumpstarting a just recovery.

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Timeline

DC’s fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30. Although the Mayor usually submits a proposed Budget and Financial Plan in March, the passage of the ARP by Congress prompted her to delay her proposal until the end of May when the amount of additional federal aid coming to DC and allowed uses would be clear. Read more about the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Timeline and see below for our real-time analysis throughout budget season on the Mayor’s budget proposal, Council committee markups, and where the budget stood after the first Council vote. 

Further Resources

Become a Budget Advocate

Residents of DC and advocates have several opportunities to weigh in on the budget throughout the year, including the Council’s hearings on agency performance and spending and the final Council hearing on the Mayor’s proposed budget.  

The fight for equity and justice is imperative and we can’t do it without you. Sign up to DCFPI’s email list or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so we can send you regular updates on our efforts and ways you can get involved. You can also learn more about the Just Recovery DC campaign on Twitter. 

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