As Other Cities Cut, D.C. Reaps a Surplus

For the second year in a row, Washington D.C. is ending its fiscal year in the black, raising hopes that prior cuts to city services can be reversed. So why are city leaders planning to bulk up the city's savings instead?
October 1, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As we've heard before, with low unemployment, ongoing redevelopment, and its population growing, D.C. has done quite well for itself during the recent recession. Now, "[t]hanks to the hefty incomes of D.C. newcomers, the timely passing of a few wealthy residents, and thousands upon thousands of speeding-camera tickets," the city is looking at a $140 million operating surplus as its fiscal year ends, reports Mike DeBonis.

"The new windfall has renewed calls to relieve the impact of prior cuts," says DeBonis. "D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said the surplus could fund a list of 29 now-unfunded line items [from homeless services to housing assistance] in the 2013 budget that goes into effect Monday."

However, despite the surplus, the fear of severe federal government cuts due to the coming "fiscal cliff" has the city's top financial officer refusing to raise his revenue estimates. According to DeBonis, "both [Mayor] Gray and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said the money will remain in the bank, in keeping with a recent law intended to bulk up the city's savings."


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Published on Friday, September 28, 2012 in The Washington Post
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