Friday, February 6, 2009

A Fair Budget?

Earlier this week, the Fair Budget Coalition released its annual budget recommendation report, "Shared Challenges, Shared Solutions, Shared Opportunities."

One might expect front-line service providers to have an expensive wish list of everything under the sun for the D.C. Council, particularly in a recession when individuals are most vulnerable.

But that is not the case here.

Having the chance to work with the Coalition in preparing this report, I was impressed with the amount of time they took to target their requests to the most critical areas and to identify ways to use available funds more wisely. In fact, when the District's anticipated revenue shortfall grew, the Coalition pulled their report and spent another month focusing it further.

Their recommendations fall in 9 general areas: workforce development, homeless services, housing, TANF, food stamps, food and nutrition, health and disability, children and youth, and tax and revenue.

Many of the recommendations are just commonsense... such as increasing transparency in the D.C. budget through use of more line items, improving data collection to better serve disabled infants and toddlers, and expanding access to the federally-funded food stamp program. Other recommendations are cost neutral, such as the Coalition’s support for providing basic mental health benefits to members of the DC Health Care Alliance through reallocating savings from closing the DC Community Services Agency. Some cost money, but are desperately needed, such as increasing funds for adult literacy programs.

You can download the full report here.

No comments: