A large, diverse coalition of organizations has issued a set of principles for decision-making on the D.C. budget. Both the coalition itself and the action it has taken reflect widespread concern about potential budget cuts that could retard local economic recovery and increase hardships for low-income D.C. families.
The 100+ organizations came together, as the Coalition for Community Investment, in response to recent budget cuts in “safety net” programs like affordable housing, homeless services, health care and TANF. Such cuts, it says, can be “pennywise and pound foolish” because they reduce residents’ buying power, expand cases of acute hardship and increase needs for more costly emergency services.
The coalition calls instead for prudent public investments that will expand economic opportunity and support the well-being of families. It suggests these can be made, even in these tough times. The key is an open, inclusive decision-making process that allows interested community members to contribute their practical know-how, technical expertise and experience.
The statement of principles is a very constructive first step to what could be a whole new day in D.C. budget-making. Let’s hope the Mayor and the City Council act on the guidance it provides.