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Statement from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute: Mayor Bowser’s Budget Takes Major Steps Forward but Misses Key Needs

WASHINGTON, DC—“This year’s budget is a historic opportunity to repair the damage done by the COVID-19 crisis and to ‘build back better,’ especially for Black and brown residents, who have borne the brunt of the harm. The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget leverages billions in American Rescue Plan dollars, which will increase the gross budget in the coming fiscal year by 3.9 percent (not adjusted for inflation), and takes several major steps forward in reducing hardship and reversing the effects of the pandemic. We applaud her bold investments in affordable housing, higher wages for city workers, direct economic supports to residents, and funding for school-based mental health services.

“But even with this strong plan, the Mayor misses some important opportunities to dismantle structural barriers to opportunity for Black and brown communities and those living on low incomes. Among the misses, Mayor Bowser’s budget falls short on support for excluded workers, like immigrants who are undocumented and were left out of federal relief. The Mayor also underinvests in long-term needs for early education and unwisely spends limited federal dollars on more school security and school resource officers. Moreover, much of her plan includes one-time or short-term investments—without equitable revenue raising options that would allow DC lawmakers to sustain momentum for broadening prosperity once federal dollars expire.

“Our understanding of the strengths and weakness of this budget will continue to evolve as we assess the details of the Mayor’s plan. We look forward to seeing the DC Council build on the strengths of the Mayor’s proposal to ensure that DC maximizes this unprecedented opportunity for a just recovery and future.”


The DC Fiscal Policy Institute promotes opportunity and widespread prosperity for all residents of the District of Columbia through thoughtful policy solutions.