Federal Tax Counter:
Each fall, the Council passes a budget submission requirements resolution that establishes the date by which the Mayor must submit the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The resolution also identifies information and documentation to be submitted with the proposed budget.
Every spring, after the Mayor submits the proposed budget and financial plan, Council committees review the request for each of the agencies under their purview. Agencies are questioned about their budget and public hearings are held to receive testimony from the agencies, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, other organizations, the advocacy community, and private citizens. Each committee’s chairperson then prepares a budget report that is presented to the full committee for markup and approval. The reports include recommendations for funding and personnel levels for each agency, policy proposals, and any appropriation language changes. The reports also identify additional budget needs, legislation required to implement the committee’s recommendations, and any other budget-related analysis that the committees deem appropriate.
After all committees mark up their reports, the Council’s Office of the Budget Director prepares a draft report and act incorporating recommendations from the committee reports, and additional council-wide recommendations from the Chairman and other Councilmembers. The outcome, as required by the District’s Home Rule Act, must be a balanced budget.
The reported budget request is then presented for a reading and Council approval. Upon Council approval, the budget is forwarded to the Mayor, who may sign or veto the Council’s budget. In the past, once agreement was reached between the Mayor and the Council, the budget was adopted and transmitted to the President of the United States for submission to Congress for final approval. Pursuant to the Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act of 2012, which was approved by District voters in a referendum in April 2013, the Home Rule Act was amended to allow the District to budget its local funds without the need for active Congressional approval. Although some parties have questioned the legality of these amendments, neither Congress nor the courts have taken action to repeal or overturn them.
In preparation for each budget oversight hearing, Council committees ask all government agencies a series of detailed questions about performance, employees, services, spending, and accounting practices.