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October 9, 2013 / Christian Clansky

As the shutdown drags on, the District starts to run low on funds

While the District has mostly fended off the effects of the shutdown so far, the reserve funds being used to do so are drying up. Yesterday, Mayor Gray sent a letter to the president and “leaders” of Congress warning that the city is on the verge of a devastating chain reaction. Obviously, this reaction would spill across the borders into the rest of the region, too (WaPo, 10/9):

[Gray] suggested for the first time that public safety could be placed in jeopardy, citing federal grants “essential for the continued protection of strategic and high-visibility targets” that have been placed on hold while the congressional showdown plays out.

He also said the shutdown has forced the city to miss a $74 million payment to Metro and could interrupt a scheduled Oct. 29 payment to the city’s 60 charter schools, “many of which will be unable to absorb this blow to their finances.”

Related
– Leaders from DC Vote, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, DC Jobs with Justice, and the AFL-CIO sent a letter to Gray urging him to continue spending DC tax dollars regardless of congressional authorization. (DCFPI, 10/8) Whenever I hear AFL-CIO, I always sing “C-I-C-I-Ohhhh” in my head. Old MacDonald had a union…

– Here are the details of the District’s missed payment to Metro. (WaPo, 10/9)

– If the shutdown continues much longer, 3.8 million veterans won’t get disability checks next month. (WTOP, 10/9)

– And families of soldiers killed in action are already having benefits withheld. (CNN, 10/9)

HEALTH | Yesterday, we heard that LAYC is reducing operations due to funding challenges stemming from the shutdown. Today, Mary’s Center – a medical provider which serves about 15,000 low-income patients – is facing a funding crisis. Maria Gomez, president and CEO of Mary’s Center, says, “We will have depleted all of our resources if the government doesn’t open by Oct. 18.” (CityPaper, 10/9)

EVENT | Susie Cambria passed along information about an emergency meeting for the District’s nonprofits to discuss the shutdown. The meeting is tomorrow, Oct. 10, from 10:30-noon at the Kennedy Recreation Center. [More info.]

COMMUNITY | Arabella Advisors has announced that Shelley Whelpton will serve as its managing director for the Mid-Atlantic practice. Bruce Boyd, principal and managing director at Arabella, says, “Shelley’s deep experience across a range of public interest issues and her background in policy and advocacy will be of great value to Arabella clients in the Mid-Atlantic region and across the country.” Welcome to the community, Shelley!

EDUCATION
– How much would it cost to improve student achievement in the District? At least $180 million, according to a new study commissioned by the city. That would would represent about a $2,000 increase in per pupil spending, though the study recommends a larger increase for at-risk students. (WaPo, 10/9)

Hispanic students outnumber other groups in Montgomery County’s early grades (WaPo, 10/9)

WORKFORCE | A number of prominent District businesses have pledged support for Councilmember Tommy Wells’ proposed living wage bill, which would push the city’s minimum wage to $10.25 over the next two years. (DCist, 10/9)

DC Brau is one the businesses – and it’s not an insignificant one. The beer maker is among the nation’s fastest growing craft breweries. (WTOP, 9/11) And they would be even better if they made a good pumpkin ale! Not the mediocre pumpkin porter they co-brew with Epic.

NONPROFITS | TOMS Shoes has become famous for its charitable business model. Customers buy a pair and the company gives a pair for free to a child in need. But the company is now rethinking its model after asking, “Does the ‘buy one, give one’ model actually fight poverty?” (PRI, 10/8)

HEALTH | Listen: State Health Exchanges – The Good, The Bad, And The Glitches (NPR, 10/9)


As the weight of the shutdown gets heavier, this song seems appropriate.

And on a similar subject, here’s a neat history of the Library of Alexandria – and how budget cuts might have been the real reason that it was destroyed.

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