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April 21, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

A deeper look into the District’s 2016 budget

BUDGETS/DISTRICT
The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) has released a Budget Toolkit full of resources that provide an in-depth analysis of the 2016 budget proposed by Mayor Bowser. You can access the toolkit here. (DCFPI, 4/21)

While the budget provides a record level to build affordable housing, it offers a much more modest increase to help families pay rent, yet rental assistance is key to making housing affordable to very low-income families. In addition, a one-year plan to keep families from being cut off the TANF welfare-to-work program gives the new mayor time to repair a flawed system, but leaves vulnerable families with too little to make ends meet, about $156 a month for a family of three. And the budget reduces some key programs, such as job training for adults. These programs face administrative and implementation problems that have kept them from fully spending available funds – and thus the reductions may make sense – but this highlights the urgency of strengthening programs critical to helping all residents thrive. These challenges could be addressed by the DC Council as it takes up the budget, or they will need to be addressed in future years.

The mayor’s budget shows that building a city where everyone can succeed requires substantial new commitments to housing, jobs, and other needs. In that light, the proposed revenue increases – which equal less than half of one percent of the budget – stand out as modest. Moreover, the revenue increases will fall on all residents instead of asking well-off residents to contribute more to building a stronger city. Given DC’s substantial income inequality – and the fact that taxes on DC residents are the lowest in region – raising additional revenues from residents most able to pay is a key to expanding economic opportunity to all residents.

Related: Last week, Ed Lazere of DCFPI clued us in to what funders should know about the District’s 2016 budget here. (Daily, 4/15)

EQUITY
– The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has released a new issue brief on the economic security of girls within the Washington region. Exploring demographic trends, the issue brief examines the challenges and opportunities girls in the region face as they move toward economic security as adults. The full issue brief can be found here. (WAWF, 4/21)

The New York Times takes a look at the “Missing Black Men” phenomenon in America, in which 1.5 million African American men are “missing,” due to early death or incarceration. (NYT, 4/20)

REGION
Opinion: What’s one good way to expand the tax base in Prince George’s County in order to boost the economy and fund public schools? Some say developing the underdeveloped areas surrounding the Metro stations in the area is a great place to start. (GGW, 4/21)

– The Washington region is the world’s 77th largest urban area (GGW, 4/20)

What’s it take to be wealthy in D.C.? Apparently a net worth of $1.25 million. (WaPo, 4/21)


Have you ever come across another person who looks a lot like you? Some people are taking to social media to find their doppelganger

– Ciara 

 

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