Hot Summer Reading: DC’s Unified Economic Development Report

It’s August, and we assume many of The District’s Dime readers are headed on vacation (or at least a Tom Sherwood-style staycation) and looking for some good reading. The District’s newly released Unified Economic Development Report isn’t likely to make the New York Times bestseller list or Oprah’s Book Club anytime soon, but if you’re a DC resident interested in how and where the city is using its economic development toolkit it’s worth a look.

The annual report, which is mandated by law and prepared by the District’s Chief Financial Officer, details the economic incentives that Mayor Gray proposes to implement through next year’s budget. (The report looks at the proposed budget and does not include any possible changes made by the DC Council in May and early June.) The report includes grants and contracts as well as tax abatements and exemptions’and this year the report also includes capital spending on libraries and schools.

The report parses the information in several ways. Overall, the report concludes the city will spend approximately $790 million on economic development incentives in fiscal year 2013, a 28 percent increase from the current fiscal year. (The report factors in capital spending for schools and libraries for fiscal year 2012.) The information is broken down by incentive type, as well as by District agency and ward.

The bar graph on ward spending is particularly striking. The tallest bar’totaling $211 million’is not classified by ward. The largest spending within a ward is projected to happen in Ward 8, due to two massive projects: the redevelopment of the East Campus of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital site ($53 million) and the modernization of Ballou Senior High School ($58 million). The amount is almost evenly split between traditional economic development incentives and school and library capital spending.

The second highest spending by ward is in ward 5, in which a majority of the spending is on capital projects for schools and libraries. The school projects include modernization of Dunbar Senior High School ($57.4 million) and Brookland Middle School ($34.5 million), as well as $11 million on McKinley Technology High School, which had a $75 million renovation completed in 2004. Third on the list is Ward 6, in which a majority of money is being spent on more traditional economic development incentives.

A copy of the report can be found here.