(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray made this statement on the DC Council’s June 14 passage of the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Act:
“The debate regarding the Budget Support Act was centered on how the District should expend new revenue that the Office of the Chief Financial Officer will hopefully identify for us in the coming weeks. On first reading, the Council made a valiant effort at a priority list of expenditures which included, among other things, funding for some critically important items: (1) $10.8 million to maintain the sworn police officer level; (2) $1.6 million for the Housing First program; (3) $12 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund; (4) $5 million for the Department of Mental Health for housing vouchers, mental-health services, and independent community residential facilities; and (5) $2.5 million for homeless services.
“At yesterday’s session, this list was heavily debated and revised. My most important priority was $32 million in funding for the Department of Health Care Finance to address additional costs associated with the managed-care contracts for the District’s publicly financed health-care programs. I am pleased to say that this item is No. 2 on the priority list. Under the current Budget Support Act structure, this funding will be provided after $1.8 million is allocated for Green and Clean Teams, programs which I fully support.
“It is important to note that all of the allocations listed in the Budget Support Act will be funded only after $21.6 million is used for the purpose of shifting the funding source for employees in the capital budget to the operating budget. As you will recall, this was an initiative that I included in my budget proposal to the Council. Shifting the FTEs that were inappropriately placed in the capital budget to the operating budget is the most transparent approach to ensuring a fiscally responsible budget. After this allocation, 50 percent of what remains will be deposited into the cash-flow reserve account in order to help rebuild the District’s fund balance. After these two expenditures, the next items on the Council’s BSA list are next to be funded.
“This means that, in order to cover the MCO managed-care contract, we will need about $89.2 million in the upcoming revenue estimate. While we remain hopeful that we will reach this target, we are looking at our options should we fall short. In this event, we will continue to work collaboratively with the Council to identify the most fiscally responsible means to address the shortfall. Regardless, the health and safety of District residents remains the No. 1 priority for the Council and me.
“Finally, I want to thank my Council colleagues for their hard work on the budget and commend them for the collaborative spirit under which they worked with me and my staff. This was a difficult budget process, but working together, I am confident we have produced the best possible budget for the residents of our great city.”