Testimony of Jenny Reed, Policy Analyst, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, For the Public Oversight Roundtable on Improving Transparency: Open Government in the District, District of Columbia Committee on Government Operations and the Environment

Chairwoman Cheh 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.

I am here today to testify on transparency improvements that we hope will be made to two critical areas of DC government: the DC budget and agency performance data.  Too often today, it is difficult or impossible to determine what actual services are being funded each year due to major gaps in how budget information is put together and then shared with the public.  And a serious shortage of meaningful performance data means we often don’t know what the District is getting for the money it spends.

A lack of budget transparency can have serious consequences.  The most recent example came just two weeks ago when homeless service providers learned days before the new fiscal year ‘ and the start of the coldest months of the year ‘ that their budgets were being cut by up to 30 percent.  Yet, because of a lack of budget transparency, no one’advocates, providers, or the DC Council’had any idea the cuts were coming or why.

Click here to read the full testimony.

Click here for a copy of DCFPI’s paper on “10 Ways to Improve the Transparency of the DC Budget”