D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently received strong feedback from residents on what they want her upcoming budget proposal to look like. Bowser held three budget public engagement forums, on Feb. 25 at Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in Norwest D.C., on Feb. 27 at the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) in Northeast, and on Feb. 29 at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest.
The District’s budget is unique among political jurisdictions because the District is the only jurisdiction that has to fund state, county, city, and schools functions. In addition, its budget is subject to congressional review even though the money that is generated is local.
On March 24, Bowser will submit her approximately $13 billion budget to the D.C. Council which will then hold public hearings on it at the John A. Wilson Building. The council will vote on the budget in the early summer and send it to the mayor for her approval. After approval the budget is sent to the U.S. Congress.
Highlights of the March 24 budget that Bowser will send to the council include housing, public education and jobs. “We have $100 million in housing and increasing money for public education and summer jobs for young D.C. residents,” she said. “We are also making sure that the tax structure is more progressive and that our city’s business climate is a vibrant one. The budget is an expression of my priorities.”
Ward 7 residents Eric Rogers and Karen Lucas bantered over allocations for the new budget.
“We need more money for health and human services,” Lucas said.
“If we have to make cuts, we have to start somewhere,” Rogers said. “It’s better to put more money into education than raising taxes to take care of people later.”
During the forums, a few residents expressed a need for supporting government operations, public safety, and health and human services while several were in support of improving education.
“People are coming back to our schools and we are going to make investments in our schools,” Bowser said.