One Week to Go Before the DC Budget Vote: Make Your Voice Heard

The finish line for the DC budget is just around the bend, which means this is a critical time to tell the Council what you want to see changed in the FY 2010 budget.  There are lots of ways to be heard, but one important opportunity is a rally at noon at the Wilson Building on Wednesday, May 6. (See details below.)   The Council will make its last changes to the budget this week, before the final budget vote next Tuesday, May 12. 

As SOME (via Bread for the City’s blog) reports, Council committees have added funding for some key programs and rolled back some of the regressive revenue increases we helped to advocate against

Councilmember Graham set aside $2 million for the Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) and $1.5 million for TANF, using revenue from enhanced parking enforcement.  LRSP provides housing vouchers for low-income families and funding to make new housing projects affordable to the lowest-income residents, while TANF provides job training, supportive services, and income assistance to over 16,000 DC households.  Councilmember Barry devoted $2 million to provide adult literacy services to 500 District residents on a waiting list

The Council also voted to eliminate the streetlight maintenance fee and to restore the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the standard deduction.  It voted to restore COLAs for the personal exemption and property tax homestead deduction as well, but not until FY 2011.    

While this is a great start, there is still more to be done.  LRSP needs an additional $3 million to keep the program issuing new vouchers and supporting new housing projects in FY 2010.  The new funding for TANF will restore the FY 2009 cost-of-living increase, but it doesn’t provide enough to cover an inflation increase for FY 2010.  And the Housing Production Trust Fund – the primary source of funding for affordable housing construction in the District – has seen its budget fall from $60 million to $18 million in only two years, due to declining deed and recordation taxes (the main source of revenue for the Trust Fund). 

The Fair Budget Coalition will be holding a rally tomorrow at noon at the Wilson Building to thank Councilmembers for their support and to advocate for increased funding for affordable housing, TANF, and other services for low-income residents.  Come advocate for these critical services. 

We’ll be updating our Budget Toolkit summaries this week with information from the Council’s mark-ups.  Check back to find out what changes the Council has made to the FY 2010 budget.

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