During last year’s FY2021 District budget discussions, DC Council cut spending as the pandemic devastated the economy and the federal government shorted the District’s share of CARES Act funding.
What a difference a year makes. On Aug. 3, DC Council unanimously passed the FY 2022 Budget, a $17.5 billion dollar package that got a significant boost from federal aid.
The resulting budget contains much that directly impacts residents of Ward 6 and some that points to big impacts on the wider District.
Council restored $1.2 million for the programming and maintenance of both Yards Park and Canal Park by the Capitol Riverfront BID. Those funds had vanished from the budget that passed the first vote by DC Council. After advocacy from neighbors, the BID and Councilmember Charles Allen (D) the money was restored in an amendment proposed Tuesday by Chairman Phil Mendelson (D).
Allen summarized other budget elements of interest to Ward 6 in his Aug. 3 newsletter. Those include funds for:
- Southwest Town Center, creating a permanent park and green space connecting the Southwest Library and Southwest Duck Pond;
- Repairs for Eastern Market;
- Activating and programming the new Eastern Market Metro Park;
- Repairing the HVAC system at Rosedale Library in Hill East;
- Next steps to create Cobb Park in Mt. Vernon Triangle;
- Completing the H Street Bridge (the Hop Scotch Bridge) as part of the future Union Station overhaul in H Street;
- Planning for a new Shaw Middle School;
- A new playground for Peabody Elementary School;
- Adding a full modernization for Brent Elementary School;
- Protecting the modernizations for J.O. Wilson, Tyler, and School Within a School (SWS);
- Upgrades at Garfield Park;
- Fully funded modernization of Seaton Elementary in Shaw;
- Lansburgh Park maintenance and upgrades in Southwest;
- Upgrading Jefferson Middle School’s field in Southwest;
- Repairs at Watkins Playground in Capitol Hill; and
- Funding for the Capitol Hill Classic.
Income Tax Increase for Individuals Earning $250,000 or More
A bill introduced by Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Janeese Lewis George and Allen raises the tax rate by small percentages on income earned by individuals (not households) above $250,000. It passed the Council by a 8-5 vote and is expected to raise $100-$170 million annually.
Around three to six percent of DC residents will see an increase in their annual taxes. An individual earning $300,000 per year would be asked to pay about $31 more per month.
That money will be used, first, to fund parts of the Birth-to-Three law that ensure fair pay for the overwhelmingly Black and Brown women who take care of our children.
Second, it will push to end homelessness for more than 2,400 people who are homeless by moving them into permanent Many will be individuals and will also receive wrap-around supports.
Third, the District will increase its local match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 40 to 55 percent. As of 2023, the funds will be distributed as a monthly benefit, rather than as part of a tax refund. When that happens, a family with one child and an income of about $20,000 or less annually (the maximum benefit level), would receive $211 per month. The same family with two kids would receive $348 per month; with 3 or more kids, $392 per month.
Public Safety Investments
The day before the Council vote on the budget, Mayor Bowser requested DC Council find $11 million more to hire additional MPD officers.
In response, Mendelson and Allen proposed a compromise package that both funds MPD as well as making several immediate and important investments in violence prevention programs that Allen said would invest the money directly into the communities experiencing gun violence most directly.
This includes not only funding additional violence interrupters, but expanding the leadership academy model to three new DC schools to work directly with young people before they get involved in a gun violence.
The funding for MPD can be used to hire more officers, which is intended to help relieve the pressure and cost for overtime. The Council allocated $5 million to refresh the pipeline of future recruits.
In total, the budget allocates $516.4 million to MPD, while the main violence interruption office allocation is up to $30 million.
Additional notable funds will:
- create the Office of Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing. Allen wrote legislation to create this office to ensure better service to DC’s sizeable Deaf and Hard of Hearing community
- begin the creation of a District Composting and Organic Waste Diversion Program;
- put towards $41 million relief for excluded workers;
- allocate $500 for DC residents, propsed by At-arge Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I) for those unemployed who experienced weeks or months waiting on unemployment benefits.
Read Councilmember Allen’s full August 3 newsletter at www.charlesallenward6.com. Learn more about the budget by visiting www.dccouncilbudget.com/fy-2022-budget