The D.C. Council on Tuesday gave initial approval to a $19.7 billion budget for 2024 crafted under challenging financial conditions for the city, with lawmakers touting increases in funding for key housing programs while also enacting measures they say will help revitalize the struggling downtown.
But there was also debate on how to strike the right balance between supporting owners of downtown office buildings that have seen rapidly declining property values as remote work has remained stubbornly high and what advocates say are pressing needs for low-income residents, from increasing the value of food benefits to fighting the high cost of housing.
Ultimately, a majority of lawmakers came out against a proposal to extend a high tax rate on big land deals and direct resulting revenue toward anti-poverty programs, arguing that as the city faces economic headwinds it needs to remain sensitive to the needs of struggling businesses and property owners.
Tuesday’s vote capped off a two-month-long budget season that started in late March, when Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled her proposed spending plan for the 2024 fiscal year, which kicks off Oct. 1. Faced with expiring federal COVID-19 aid and a drop in expected revenue caused in large part by decreases in commercial property values, Bowser said the budget would be one of the tightest in the last decade. She proposed cuts to numerous agencies and programs, as well as the elimination of thousands of vacant positions across the government, while also floating increased tax breaks for downtown property owners converting office buildings to residential.
Click here to read the rest of the article written by Martin Austermuhle over at Dcist
Leave a Reply