This is an important week in the development of DC budget for fiscal year 2017! As of last Friday, each Council committee completed budget oversight hearings on the proposed budget for the DC government agencies they oversee. That brings us to this week ‘ “mark-up week.”
Budget mark-ups are the first sign of how the Council wants to modify the mayor’s budget — perhaps taking up recommendations you and others have made. There will be other chances, too, to influence the budget before the vote on May 17.
Each committee drafts a budget report and holds a mark-up meeting to vote on it. The committee reports do the following:
- Make budget changes. A committee can cut one program to fund another, or it can find budget savings and then reallocate them. The ability to shift resources is somewhat limited, since committees cannot spend more than the total they received in the mayor’s proposed budget.
- Give money away! Sometimes committees find savings in the agencies they oversee and put those savings in an agency overseen by another committee. In recent years, for example, the Transportation Committee devoted some of its resources to homeless services.
- Recommend policy changes. The committees also offer comments on the legislative changes in the mayor’s Budget Support Act. For example, does the committee like a proposed new reporting requirement, or changes in how unemployment insurance is provided? The committee’s comments on such things are generally seen as advisory, and will be considered by the full DC Council as it finishes budget work.
The mark-up schedule is on the Council web site and also listed above. But note that these are highly subject to change, so keep your schedule flexible and follow the Council online for the most up-to-date information.
The mark-ups are not the end of the budget process, though. Between the end of mark-ups this week and the full Council budget vote on May 17, the Council will gather to deliberate on the issues raised by each committee. That meeting is scheduled for May 11. At that time, residents and advocates will have a week to meet individually with councilmembers to ensure that their issues are being considered.
See you at mark-ups!
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