Get up to Speed on DC Budget Autonomy

Budget autonomy is critical to the District’s future—so critical, in fact, that we have taken the Mayor and CFO to court to fight for it.

The issue is clear: dollars that are raised locally should be allowed to be spent locally without the need for Congressional involvement (although Congress would retain decision-making on federal funds).  The Council, the Mayor, and 83% of District voters are on record supporting this view.

On all but three occasions since 1990, Congress has approved the District’s budget after the fiscal year was already underway.  This creates great difficulty and uncertainty in the District’s budgeting process, and increases short-term borrowing costs.  Additionally, since our schools’ budget year is tied to that of Congress, we are forced to face the costly and illogical situation of having the all-important “back to school” season fall during the very last weeks of their shared fiscal year.

The issue may seem arcane, but it is essential that those in the District and beyond understand it.  Provided below is a one-stop toolkit for understanding the issue of DC budget autonomy.

Lawsuit and Reference Material:

"The Basics"

"A Deeper Dive"

“Extra Credit”