D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser presented her Fiscal Year 2020 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan of $15.5 billion on March 20 to the D.C. Council after a season of public engagements.
In a statement, Bowser said that the budget was about ensuring that everyone living and doing business in the District is giving and getting their fair share.
“This is a budget that advances our D.C. values and addresses our city’s most pressing challenges – a budget that recognizes that these are very good times for Washington, D.C., and asks our commercial property owners to share some of the upside so that we can invest more in keeping D.C. affordable for Washingtonians across the income spectrum,” Bower said in the statement.
The 24th consecutive balanced budget comes at a time when the District is facing a number of problems, including the growing number of fatal shootings and housing inequalities. Many people came forward to protest against these issues during the mayor’s recent State of the District Address.
Bowser also talked about the housing issues during her address: “We know the number one issue on the minds of Washingtonians is affordable housing. Rising housing costs have created new challenges for homeowners and renters alike, particularly for those on a fixed income and those who are struggling to make ends meet,” the mayor said during her address.
The highlights of the budget include a 30 percent rise ($130 million) in the D.C. investment in Housing Production Trust Fund. The District’s investment in the Housing Preservation Fund will also be increased by 50 percent to $15 million, and an additional $45 million in private investment is planned.
There is a proposal of creating a new $20 million Workforce Housing Fund, as well as adding funds of $180 million in private sector investment. For continued implementation of Homeward D.C. to bring down homelessness, an additional $37 million funds will be provided. Also, $5.2 million has been allocated to expand and increase Schedule H – D.C.’s income tax credit in order to help offset rising property taxes.
An oversight hearing on the budget will be held by the D.C. Council through the spring. Voting on the budget will take place in June.