Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

The District Revised its Revenue Numbers Down Again – Are More Cuts Coming for Communities Living in Poverty?

Executive Director

Executive Director

On December 16, 2009, the Chief Financial Officer for the District transmitted a revised revenue forecast to the Mayor and the District Council.  Citing lost real estate and other taxes, Dr. Gandhi now projects that the District will have a $17 million income and spending gap in the current fiscal year (2010) and that the hole to be filled next year (2011) has grown by another $104 million, to just over $400 million.   Revenue numbers for 2012 and 2013 have also been adjusted downward.  Agencies are currently drafting their 2011 budget requests and we understand that they have been instructed to find 10% in savings.

 The prospect of more budget cuts is frightening for advocates concerned about anti-poverty issues.   During times of financial crisis, the District has a track record of cutting deepest into services for our most vulnerable neighbors.  The most recent round of budget balancing that occurred this summer resulted in big cuts to social services, including TANF, local rental supplement, homeless services, domestic violence services, civil legal services funding, etc.  See our blog on this issue and the report of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute

The Mayor and the District Council are facing a set of very hard choices.  Four hundred million dollars is more than 10% of the discretionary budget and will be impossible to fill without pain throughout the District.   Communities living in poverty are facing historic challenges and have already borne the brunt of the cuts to date.  A fair and equitable budget will 

 The Mayor sends his budget to the Council on April 1 and the Council will vote by the end of June.  The recession has hit communities living in poverty the most.  As the economy moves out of recession, the burden can be shared in a more equitable manner.

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