A coalition of 92 local organizations is urging D.C. officials to take measures like holding off tax cuts in order to meet pressing city budget challenges.
In a joint March 27 letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council, the groups — many of them nonprofits serving low-income communities — named “urgent” spending priorities that include Metro system repairs, affordable housing, homelessness and schools. They also noted the looming threat of federal budget cuts to programs such as Medicaid and food vouchers. The letter recommends several policy changes to “untie DC’s hands and create the fiscal flexibility the District needs to meet unprecedented, urgent needs facing us in 2017 and beyond.”
One proposal calls for officials to loosen the existing policy that devotes every dollar of newly projected revenue toward tax cuts. According to a release from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, “the $100 million in tax cuts on the table this year include cuts in taxes for businesses and wealthy estates, in addition to tax cuts that assist a broad range of DC households and make the tax system more progressive.” The groups also recommend spending the city’s 2016 surplus and creating a budget cushion to deal with the threat of federal cuts.
In addition to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the sponsors of the letter’s campaign include the Children’s Law Center, the Fair Budget Coalition, Miriam’s Kitchen and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.