Testimony of Jenny Reed, Policy Analyst, At the Public Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Performance Oversight Hearing

Chairman Brown and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak today.  My name is Jenny Reed, and I am a Policy Analyst with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.  DCFPI engages in research and public education on the fiscal and economic health of the District of Columbia, with a particular emphasis on policies that affect low- and moderate-income residents.   

A transparent budget ‘ one that provides accurate, clear and timely information ‘ is critical to helping the public understand how its tax dollars are being spent, and to enable the public and elected officials to hold the District accountable for the delivery of services.  I am here today to testify on improvements the Office of Budget and Planning has made to the District’s budget over the past year, and also to provide suggestions for ways to improve budget transparency for the public over the next year.   

The Office of Budget and Planning (OBP) has made two notable improvements to the District’s budget over the past year that have helped improve budget transparency for the public.    

  • The CFO has added more detailed spending information to CFO Info.  CFO Info is the CFO’s online tool that allows the public access to more detailed budget information. Since last year, OBO has added detailed spending detail on federal funds to CFO info which allows users to see which federal funds, and how much, were spent on programs within an agency ‘ something that cannot currently be done by looking through the published budget books.        
  • The CFO released the Current Services Funding Level (CSFL) budget for FY 2013 earlier in the year.  This year, OBP released the CSFL in mid-February, nearly two months ahead of its release in the previous year.  In previous years the CFSL had been released usually within one week of the Mayor’s proposed budget which did not give the public much time to analyze this critical information.  Releasing the CFSL earlier in the year allows the Council and members of the public a better opportunity to see how costs are expected to change from year to year and what the current gap between revenues and expenditures is expected to be.  

To read the full testimony, click here.