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Mayor Bowser Presents #DCHOPE Budget Proposal

Monday, May 18, 2020

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented her Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Budget and Financial Plan to the Council of the District of Columbia as part of the District’s annual budget process. Despite facing the unprecedented financial challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Mayor’s budget makes significant new investments in education, healthcare, housing, jobs and economic opportunity, public safety, transportation, and more.

“While this is not the budget we expected to share earlier this year, it is still a budget that I am proud of and that our city can be proud of,” said Mayor Bowser. “Under the most difficult of circumstances, we crafted a balanced budget that reflects our shared values and priorities, makes significant investments in our residents, and sets the District up for an efficient recovery. I look forward to working with the Council to ensure we invest in health, opportunity, prosperity and equity for the District.”

Budget Investment Highlights

Below are highlights of new investments and initiatives in Mayor Bowser’s FY21 budget proposal.


  • 3% increase to the uniform per student funding formula (UPSFF) for a total of $1.92B to serve an estimated 98,315 DC public traditional and charter school students
  • Continued expansion of IT devices and supports ($6M) and expansion of the school based mental health program through new federal resources ($1.5M)
  • $90.3M for programs and services at UDC and $108M in capital improvements for university facilities
  • $1M to help open the new MLK Library and $37.2M for new Parklands-Turner and Chevy Chase public libraries
  • $75M in capital funds to support 17 schools in the creation of 540 new early childcare seats and 180 Pre-K seats
  • $1.4B to expand or modernize 41 schools, including:
    • $80.2M to open a new Bard High School Early College
    • $56M to open a new Foxhall Elementary School
    • $6M to create space for a new Early Childhood Development Center and expand Pre-K seats at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School
    • $23M for a new expansion at Barnard elementary school
    • $27.8M to add five new PACE elementary schools for modernization
  • Create a permanent home for Excel Academy and invest over $52M to renovate Spingarn High School to create a long-term home for the DC Infrastructure Academy. ​
  • The Infrastructure Academy will move from the Wilkinson location ​by FY 2024, and Wilkinson will be surplused to the Charter sector. We will also be exploring a Charter tenant to co-locate at Spingarn.

Healthcare Improvements

  • $365M for a new, state-of-the-art hospital ​and ambulatory center at St. Elizabeths ​
    • The 136-bed center will provide maternity services and newborn deliveries and help address inequalities in health outcomes and provide a comprehensive network of care to meet Ward 7 and Ward 8 residents’ needs​
  • $4.2M to support five new Centers of Excellence at Howard University Hospital and $25M to support the development of a new Howard Hospital, to be completed by 2026 (plus future tax abatements of $225M)
  • $4.8M to implement recommendations from the Mayor's Commission on Healthcare Systems Transformation to reduce reliance on emergency care and improve health outcomes
  • $35M in additional funds to support increased enrollment in Medicaid as a result of the public health emergency
  • $1.4M in grants for developmental disability service providers and increased Stevie Sellows fees to provide $1.6M for intermediate care facilities to pay increased wages to their staff

Affordable Housing and Homeward DC

  • Maintains $100M in the Housing Production Trust Fund in FY20 and FY21 to create 1,000 new units of affordable housing and continue investments in affordable housing production and preservation; adds $1M in FY21 to leverage a total of $4M for the Preservation fund
  • $76M across FY21 and FY22 for the Housing Authority Dash Fund to renovate, rehabilitate, and refresh the Housing Authority portfolio—$40M for state of good repair, and $36M for New Communities
  • $19.5M to provide affordable homeownership for residents through the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP)
  • $15.6M in anticipated federal funds to support increased rental assistance and non-profit project delivery support
  • Homeward DC: $5M for new Permanent Supportive Housing Units and $7.8M to open new ward-based emergency family housing
  • $35M to expand and renovate our permanent and temporary supportive housing

Jobs and Economic Opportunity

  • $7M in the Great Streets and Neighborhood Prosperity Fund for business development with a focus on mixed-use development in high-unemployment areas; $3.7M for Main Streets and $4.5M for Clean Teams
  • $250K to expand assistance to returning citizens to start their own businesses through DSLBD's Aspire to Entrepreneurship program.
  • $250K to assist local small business owners with participation in DC's new online sports wagering program.
  • Expanded access to DC's Opportunity Accounts so residents can use matched savings for medical emergencies not covered by insurance, as well as health insurance premiums in the event of a sudden income loss
  • Notable investments in key economic development projects such as $75.5M for McMillan Reservoir redevelopment, $122.6M for St. Elizabeths infrastructure development, $14.5M for Hill East

Public Safety

  • $1.7M to expand the MPD Cadet program from 100 to 150 cadets, offering more DC high school graduates a path to earn college credits and become police officers
  • $300K to supplement existing Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds, enabling DFS to add a Medical Technologist and purchase additional equipment
  • $86M in capital funds to purchase new emergency response vehicles
  • $4.5M in capital and operating funds to buy lifesaving cardiac equipment used by EMS personnel
  • $2M to add 30 correctional officers at the DC jail; reducing overall costs to maintain a safe and orderly environment 24/7 and $48M in capital funds to upgrade critical building systems at the jail
  • $200K for a new consumer case management system at DCRA to improve code violation enforcement as recommended by the independent review of the 708 Kennedy Street Fire

Transportation and the Environment

  • Advancing Vision Zero: $56M in roadway and intersection safety improvements, bike lanes, and trails, and $146M for streetscapes that make it safer to walk or bike
  • $467M to improve the condition of District streets, sidewalks, and alleys
  • $113M for DC Streetcar, including extending the line to the Benning Road Metro Station, and $117M for completion of the K Street Transitway by 2023
  • $17.8M for bus priority and efficiency initiatives, including dedicated bus lanes and other measures to help buses bypass traffic congestion
  • $6.5M to support continued improvement of our Circulator bus system
  • $2.8M to continue dedicated towing services and bike lane enforcement during rush hour to support safer and more efficient commutes
  • $40M to clean up the Anacostia River, including environmental remediation at Poplar Point and Kenilworth Park, to help make the river fishable and swimmable again
  • $53M for tree planting and urban forestry efforts to protect and expand the District’s tree canopy
  • $1M to install new electric vehicle charging stations at District agencies
  • $1.7B to support capital infrastructure upgrades for Metro

Parks and Recreation

  • $204M in capital investments over six years to renovate 26 park and recreation facilities
  • $71.3M to continue or create projects modernizing 6 recreation centers across 5 wards, including:
    • Theodore Hagans Cultural Center in Ward 5
    • Therapeutic Recreation Center in Ward 7
    • Takoma Aquatic Center Roof Replacement and Walter Reed Pool in Ward 4
  • $41M to improve and preserve the condition of recreation facilities in all 8 wards, including investments in ADA compliance, access and security, HVAC replacements, IT infrastructure, swimming pool replacements, and more.
  • $1.5M to convert Jefferson Field to turf to improve usability and field conditions​

Government Operations

  • $4.3M to fully fund the Fair Elections Amendment Act
  • $2.5M to continue investment in the Immigrant Legal Justice Grant program
  • $1M to continue investment in the Statehood Education Campaign Initiative
  • $10M in capital funds to begin planning and renovation work at the historic Daly Building in Judiciary Square in FY21
  • $2M to support and enhance the District’s cybersecurity preparedness and incident response capabilities
  • Creation of an online marketplace to digitize, simplify and improve accountability of the third-party construction inspection process

Revenue Losses

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the District is expecting significant revenue losses compared to pre-pandemic estimates – $722 million less for FY20 and $774 less for FY21.

Closing the Budget Gaps

The Mayor identified several areas to help close the immense budget gap:

  • Full use of FY19 surplus – $322 M
  • Full use of Fiscal Stabilization Reserve – $213 M
  • Additional Revenue from Ballpark Stadium Bond Defeasance – $105 M
  • Utilized estimated bond refinancing savings in FY21 and FY22 – $80 M
  • Assumed no pay growth in the out-years of the plan – $250 M

Federal Assistance

The District Government and District businesses and residents are estimated to receive $3.9B in federal response and recovery funds.

  • The vast majority of funds ($3.2B) are passed through as direct assistance to businesses ($2.4B), hospitals ($130M), schools and universities, WMATA, and payments to residents through programs like SNAP and LIHEAP
  • Nearly $725M comes to District government through broad relief funds (Coronavirus Relief Fund ‐ $495M) or specific increases to grants (such as Community Development Block Grant) within District agencies to allow them to expand services.
  • The costs of responding to COVID‐19 are substantial and still growing. Importantly, the District needs the same federal funds given to the states to be able to respond to the full impacts of the COVID‐19 public health crisis.

Visit to view the Mayor’s FY21 Proposed Budget Highlights.