Council Again Unanimously Advances Ambitious and Meaningful Budget, Including Bump in Public Safety Spending

At its most recent Legislative Meeting, the Council took the second of two necessary votes on the Local Budget Act, the dollars-and-cents component of the District’s multi-bill budget package. The Council budget approved at this meeting largely tracks with the one voted on at the prior meeting, although it does include these additional provisions:

  • $41 million in total aid for excluded workers ($15 million in the original proposed draft budget, $20 million added by the Council at the prior meeting, and a further $6 million added now)
  • $6.1 million for additional violence prevention programs, including funds for the Office of the Attorney General’s Cure the Streets program and the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Leadership Academies and other efforts
  • Funding to hire full-time school librarians at all DC Public Schools that do not currently have one on staff
  • $5 million for new Metropolitan Police Department recruits and cadets
  • $5 million for $500 payments to the DC residents whose unemployment insurance payouts were delayed by sixty or more days
  • Funding for Yards and Canal Park maintenance, staffing for the now-public Roosevelt High School pool, and a roving Ward 7 Clean Team

This last batch of funded programs builds upon the Council’s transformative budget as passed at the prior meeting, which included:

  • “Baby Bonds” of up to $1,000 a year to be provided to low-income youth at age 18 for educational, entrepreneurial, or property ownership uses
  • Expansion of Paid Family Leave for medical/self-care from two to six weeks
  • Initial steps to expand all three categories of Paid Family Leave (parental, family care, and self-care) to 12 weeks
  • $50 million in public housing repairs
  • Providing stable housing for over 3,500 residents facing homelessness or precarious housing
  • Provide increased wages to infant and toddler educators at childcare providers
  • Expand DC’s Earned Income Tax Credit, later be paid out a a monthly basic income
  • Breaking up the dysfunctional Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs into a construction-oriented Department of Buildings and a consumer-oriented Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection
  • Pilot funding for the Generating Affordability in Neighborhoods (GAIN) Act, to allow for conversion of unaffordable housing into affordable housing using funded covenants
  • Funding for the creation of the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children, the Office on Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing, and the Deputy Auditor for Public Safety, a recommendation of the Police Reform Commission
  • $80 million in additional relief for hotels, restaurant, and small businesses
  • Civil legal services for low-income individuals facing eviction and loss of services

One more budget vote remains for the Council, and will occur at the next Legislative Meeting on August 10, when the Council casts its second of two votes on the Budget Support Act (BSA). The BSA puts the dollars-and-cents of the numeric budget into policy terms, in addition to the inclusion of other legislative matters.