(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today released his Fiscal Year 2013 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan. The $9.4 billion budget places a premium on fiscal responsibility by closing an anticipated $172.1 million gap between revenues and expenses without raising new taxes or adding new fees, and without dipping into the District’s crucial reserve fund.
“This budget continues to fund my administration’s top priorities – education, public safety and jobs and economic development – while respecting the fiscal discipline required to safeguard those services for the future,” Mayor Gray said. “We had to make difficult choices, but we believe this budget maintains the right level of government services, including protecting our most vulnerable citizens, without raising taxes.”
The plan closes the budget gap with $102.7 million in cuts to expenditures (60 percent of gap) and $69.4 million in revenue initiatives (40 percent of gap).
Mayor Gray and his budget team adhered to four basic principles in assembling the proposal:
· Ensure a structurally balanced budget;
· No new taxes or fees;
· Continue strategic investments in education, public safety and workforce development; and
· Protect the District’s most vulnerable residents.
One way that the budget avoids new taxes or cuts to crucial social services is by improving the way the government collects revenue. “One thing we need to do a better job of is collecting what is already owed to the District government, and this budget invests in improving the efficiency of our revenue-collection process,” Mayor Gray said.
The budget also takes advantage of opportunities to increase government efficiency in other areas identified by the recently concluded One City Performance Review, which Mayor Gray initiated last year and which was led by former DC Chief Technology Officer Suzanne Peck. Initiatives generated by the review closed $15.9 million of the FY 2013 budget gap.
“The One City Performance Review process was a great success, and I’m grateful to Suzanne Peck and her team for helping us identify efficiencies that allowed us to cover nearly $16 million – with more in the future as longer-term ideas are implemented,” Mayor Gray said.
Despite cuts in some areas, the budget makes strategic investments in others:
· A 2-percent boost in the per-pupil funding formula for students in the D.C. Public Schools and public charter schools. The increase is part of an overall $85.8 million in additional investments for the District’s traditional and charter public schools.
· A $20.5 million increase for the Metropolitan Police Department, fully funding a force of 3,907 sworn officers and funding 29 new civilian positions in the department.
· A $6.6 million increase in local funding for workforce-development initiatives through the Department of Employment Services.
· Increased funding for ethics-regulation agencies, including the Office of Campaign Finance and the new Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.
In an effort to engage District residents and stakeholders on what his budget proposal means for them, Mayor Gray will embark on a series of town hall and neighborhood budget briefings. Budget town halls are scheduled for each of the District’s eight wards:
WARD 8: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, April 2nd, Savoy Elementary/Thurgood Marshall Gymnasium
WARD 3: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 4th, Alice Deal Middle School
WARD 5: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 10th, McKinley Tech High School
WARD 7: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 17th, Deanwood Recreation Center
WARD 2: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 19th, Historic Charles Sumner School and Archives
WARD 4: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, April 23rd, Brightwood Elementary School
WARD 6: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 25th, Eastern Senior High School
WARD 1: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, April 30th, Bell Multicultural High School
An additional youth budget town hall meeting is being scheduled.
More information on the budget is available at the Mayor’s budget website, budget.dc.gov.