D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released her $19.5 billion FY 2022-2022 budget proposal on Wednesday that funds an array of city services but doesn’t call for tax increases or layoffs.
Bowser formally presented her proposal before a special meeting with members of the D.C. Council at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington. In her opening remarks, the mayor said the District is back on the road to recovery from the pandemic and her budget is a reflection of that.
“We all made countless sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether physical, emotional, social, or financial,” she said. “As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, we want to make up for lost time and opportunities. Our FY23 budget proposal builds on the Recovery Budget we put forward last year to help more Washingtonians build a future in safer, stronger, healthier, and more equitable D.C. With this budget, we will address the very anxiety residents are feeling about affordability, get MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] back to 4,000 sworn officers, and make new investments in residents at risk of being involved in gun violence, making Washington, D.C., among the first cities in the nation to end chronic homelessness, and double down on the world-class city services and infrastructure that D.C. residents expect.”
Highlights of the proposal include:
*$30 million to hire, recruit and retain police officers
*$251 million to build a new annex to the D.C. jail
*$35 million to build a community-based program at Winston Educational Campus in Southeast with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment for hands-on learning
*Funding for a new indoor sports complex at RFK Stadium in Southeast that will include amenities such as gymnastics training facility, indoor track, climbing walls, and boxing
*A new high school in the Palisades neighborhood in Northwest
*A dog park at Oxon Run in Ward 8
*A new indoor pool at the Hillcrest Recreation Center
*The creation of a $10 million Black Homeownership Fund and Strikeforce designed to help longtime Black homeowners in the city and
*Increasing the Housing Production Trust to $500 million, a new high.
D.C. Councilmember Trayon White (D-Ward 8) asked questions about the expansion of the police cadet program from Anacostia High School to other campuses and the administration’s commitment to more funding for violence interrupters. Councilmember Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) inquired about the expansion of the health care facilities in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Bowser responded to Gray saying the new St. Elizabeths Hospital will open in late 2024 and in Ward 8, an urgent care facility will be operational in the fall and with its counterpart in Ward 7 functional in 2023.
The D.C. Council has the mayor’s proposed budget. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said a full briefing on the budget with the mayor will take place on Friday.
The chairman said the committees will consider their portions of the budget from March 21-April 8. On April 8, Mendelson said the Committee of the Whole will hold a public hearing on the budget and encouraged residents to participate.
He said committee markups of the mayor’s budget will occur on April 20-21 with the first vote on the proposal on May 10 and the second vote and final action on May 24.
Bowser said her budget proposal doesn’t raise taxes and hopes the council follows her lead on that.
“There is no reason to raise taxes,” the mayor said. “We are making historic investments in the city and have infrastructure dollars to do what we need. We are building a new high school, a new sports complex, and a new jail and we are doing that in this budget without raising taxes.”