Skip to content Skip to footer

May 29, 2024 Budget Vote

I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I accomplished this week as we took our first vote on the FY25 Budget. You can watch my statement from the vote on Wednesday below, and keep scrolling to see details of the wins I secured both citywide and for Ward 5 neighbors.

Some of the high-level highlights of this budget include key revenue raisers, and major citywide investments including accelerating downtown recovery, restoring funds to the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund, and increasing the number of new housing vouchers and funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

I am especially proud that my District Child Tax Credit made it into this budget. This was the first major piece of legislation I introduced as Councilmember, and I remain committed to fighting childhood poverty while extending resources to low-income and middle-income parents who grapple with high childcare costs. How it works is pretty simple: the District will provide a fully refundable credit (money) for each child of eligible parents who file taxes. When enacted by the federal government during the pandemic, the Child Tax Credit slashed child poverty rates, and I’m confident that when at scale, the District Child Tax Credit will do the same. While this year’s investment is just a small start, it is an important stake in the ground to establish a local child tax credit and allows us to build on it for years to come.

I am also proud to share that even in a difficult budget year, I was able to secure many wins for Ward 5. In addition to school repairs at Wheatley and Luke C. Moore, a traffic improvement study of Michigan Ave, money to improve conditions of the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center play space, and securing an additional $8 million for the Fort Lincoln Campus Improvement Project that will allow DGS to begin construction this fall, I was proud to secure funds to kick off a corridor study of Rhode Island Ave to pave way for future development. This is a priority for me because I fundamentally believe we need to better activate Rhode Island Ave (I am also in talks with DMPED about the feasibility of bringing a grocery store to the area). Additionally, I was able to secure $100,000 to fund a feasibility study to pave way for the Ward 5 Small Business Development Center Establishment Act of 2023 I introduced last year.

Read on to see all of the major wins for Ward 5 in the FY25 budget. 

I am also proud that the three pressing issues for the LGBTQ+ community that I raised in a letter I sent to my colleagues on April 30 were addressed in this year’s budget, along with an investment to support my proposed Black LGBTQ+ History Commission. DC has more LGBTQ+ residents per capita than any other jurisdiction in the world, and these investments will go a long way in supporting the material wellness our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer residents. I want to give a special shout out to my colleague Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (whose committee has direct oversight of the Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs), without whom these investments would not have been possible. 

This year’s budget is a reminder that representation matters.

Lastly, I want to give special attention to the investments made for seniors in this year’s budget. As I said in my statement on the dais, I believe this budget does not go far enough in supporting our senior residents, but I continue to fight so that these neighbors are not overlooked or forgotten. Here are some of the funds we secured for senior neighbors: 

  • $524,774 to double the number of slots in the Department of Employment Services 50+ program from 25 to 50. 
  • $247,189 in one-time funds to support the existing Connector Card program for seniors.
  • $110,771 increase in one-time funds to support a hotline attorney that provides core legal services for senior residents.
  • $60,000 in one-time funds to provide a grant to the VIDA Senior Center for Latino Residents.
  • Healthy Food Access Grant Projects
    • Martha’s Table Joyful Food Markets: $1,824,066
    • DC Central Kitchen Healthy Corners: $750,000
    • FRESHFARM Produce Plus (which provides funding for low-income residents to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at farmers markets, to increase program participation by 2,500 for this high-demand program): $1,500,000
    • Food and Friends Medically-Tailored Home-Delivered Meals: $1,335,000
  • $120,000 for a new Grocery Access Pilot Program, enabling 1,000 residents who participate in educational programs under the Supplemental Nutirion Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) to purchase groceries online without delivery fees.

There’s more to come and more work to do before the Council takes it second vote on June 12. The nature of our work is humbling because even though there is much to celebrate, we also know that there are dire needs that continue to go unmet. I continue to be extremely troubled by the plan to kick families out of rapid rehousing, and I will continue to look for ways to prevent it. I am concerned that we have not done enough to address senior hunger this budget cycle. I am concerned that neither the Mayor nor the Council has put our money where our mouths are when it comes to addressing the root causes of truancy.  I continue to have concerns about a fast-tracked change to our sports betting contract without sufficient answers or remediations for how said change will impact small businesses. I look forward to working with colleagues on these matters before second vote.