D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday her fiscal 2022 budget proposal, which has no tax increases for residents or businesses.
In Bowser’s $17.5 billion budget, about $9.2 billion would be funded locally and federal funds would largely make up the rest.
The mayor originally was supposed to propose the budget in late March but the D.C. Council permitted a delay due to the infusion of coronavirus relief funds from the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan.
Bowser, who presented the budget to council members Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Northwest, said it reflects “the sacrifices of our community over the past year and a half have saved lives and gotten us to where we are today — on the cusp of crushing this virus.”
“The fiscal year 2022 Fair Shot Budget honors those sacrifices by making investments in residents and businesses that were hit the hardest and setting our community up for a strong recovery,” she said. “With this budget, we are doubling down on our commitment to build more a more equitable Washington, D.C. and giving more Washingtonians a fair shot.”
Highlights of the budget include funding the Housing Production Trust Fund at $400 million, a historic level; increasing the financing of the Building Blocks DC program — designed to use social services for criminals and victims to fight crime — from $15 million to $45 million; $7.8 million for more violence interrupters and $400,000 for additional credible messengers; $58 million to help fund full-service grocery stores in Wards and 7; $15 million to give cash assistance to people who don’t qualify for federal unemployment; $21 million to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting Barry Farm to the Anacostia Metro; a previously announced 3.6 percent increase in the base amount of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula plus increased weights for English Language Learners and at-risk students and $20 million for the Alexander Crummell School in Ward 5 for a recreation center and housing.
Council Chair Phil Mendelson said the mayor and her team will offer more details on the budget next week, but gave fellow members the opportunity Thursday to make comments and ask questions.
Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) expressed concerns about the United Medical Center and whether the administration will fund it adequately as the city transitions to the upcoming St. Elizabeths Hospital. Jenny Reed, the city’s budget director, assured White that UMC will be fully supported even as it is managed by a control board.
Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) said he liked the funding for the Crummell school, noting residents of the Trinidad-Ivy City neighborhood wanted that facility to be developed for years.
Mendelson said the mayor’s budget will be scrutinized for the next two months and the first vote on it will take place on July 20. A second vote will occur either in late July or early August and, if approved, the budget will go back to the mayor for her signature and then to the U.S. Congress for review.