D.C. Proposed Budget: Feel the Pain

Flickr: Andrew Magill

Reading city budgets are boring undertakings, but boy are they important documents. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposed fiscal 2012 budget has been out for a few days now, and it includes $187 million in cuts, 60 percent of which come from social services. Ouch. If you haven’t had time to comb through the pages and pages of proposed cuts, here are a few that would affect the District’s most vulnerable residents:

• $4,373,927 cut from Child and Family Services

• $30,655,447 cut from the Department of Health

• $8,802,107 cut from the Department of Mental Health

• $18,628,455 cut from the Disability Compensation Fund

Wealthy D.C. residents are being tasked with bearing the burden of the city’s financial woes, too — a tax hike for households bringing in $200,000 or more a year is on the table.

It should be noted that some of those proposed cuts are in response to loss of federal funds, such as $12,518,000 of federal grant money gone from the Department of Health’s budget. Also, some of these cuts represent large chunks of an agency’s relatively small budget (a $1,625,000 cut from the Children and Youth Investment Collaborative represents a 35 percent cut).

In response to some of these proposed cuts, D.C. Behavioral Health Association executive director told Washington City Paper:

“D.C. already under-spends on children’s mental health treatment: we spent $13 million on our children’s mental health program while Vermont, which has a similar population size, spent $72 million.  Now Mayor Gray’s proposed FY2012 further reduces the mental health services that keep children out of hospitals and out of the juvenile delinquency system.  It reduces the treatment funds that help parents improve their parenting skills.  Perversely, while cutting these effective programs, Mayor Gray proposes spending significantly more on the expensive interventions that don’t have the proven track record of efficacy.”