PUT PEOPLE FIRST: BUDGETING FOR A HUMAN RIGHTS CITY
FAIR BUDGET COALITION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FY 2014
We can build a solid foundation for our human rights city through a budget based on our
fundamental needs and rights. With targeted investments in housing, jobs, health and safety,
and with progressive revenue policies we can advance dignity and equity for all.
Provide a basic safety net for all DC residents experiencing a housing crisis.
- Withdraw confusing Homeless Services Reform Act amendments contained in the Budget Support Act and introduce as a separate piece of legislation so the community has an opportunity to provide input and modify potentially harmful provisions, such as those that remove due process protections from homeless families.
- Expand shelter or housing resources to ensure that every person who experiences homelessness has a safe and appropriate short- or long-term placement.
- Invest an additional $5 million in addition to the $1 million increase to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to prevent homelessness for 1,000 more eligible households and expand program eligibility to serve individuals.
- In the FY13 supplemental budget, restore $500,000 to reinstate 10 beds for homeless youth under 18 years of age
Provide housing now to DC’s most vulnerable residents.
- End homelessness for 600 children with an additional investment of $1.5 million in Housing First and $3.5 million in Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) tenant vouchers and thus ensure adequate shelter space to serve families with no safe place to sleep year-round.
- End homelessness for ALL seniors with an additional investment of $5.7 million in Housing First and $4.3 million in LRSP tenant vouchers, serving 576 elderly residents.
- End homelessness for ALL people with HIV/AIDS with an additional investment of $1.25 million in Housing First and $2.5 million in LRSP tenant vouchers, serving 250 households with HIV/AIDS.
- Increase youth homelessness funding by $5.1 million to increase capacity for respite/crisis shelter for homeless youth and for transitional living programming for youth 16-24 years old.
- Collect data and track outcomes for DC’s Rapid Rehousing program.
Total funding needed to end homelessness for DC’s most vulnerable residents
Housing First: $8.5 million
Tenant-based Local Rent Supplement Program: $10.3 million
Youth Housing Programs: $5.1 million
Ensure that the number of DC residents served by affordable housing programs does not decrease over time.
- Mandate that every spot is filled in the DHS Housing First program.
- Mandate that every spot is filled in the Local Rent Supplement Program.
Fund education, training, and other supports that lead to employment.
- Add $5 million in “Opportunity Youth” funds to help 1,000 youths reconnect to education or prepare for employment.
- Invest $4 million more in Adult and Family Education – This is a critical piece to success in other investments in adult training (DOES) and in Levitra K-12 education and must be moved from the contingency list to the baseline budget.
Invest in supports that make work possible.
- Support quality child care by increasing investments by $5 million in 2014 and $20 million over four years to raise reimbursement rates. This money is number one on the contingency list but should be moved o the actual budget.
Improve job conditions for working residents.
- Add $1.3 million to improve workplace protection laws and their enforcement. This money will fund a) 4 more staff for enforcing wage theft prevention, b) implementation of the Workplace Fraud Act, which discourages misclassifying employees as consultants, and c) funding for two employees to implement the Unemployed Anti-discrimination Act.
Provide residents who cannot immediately work move toward greater financial stability.
- Invest $800,000 to restore fair process for injured government workers
- Increase TANF by $5 million to implement reasonable and customary exemptions from the TANF time limit for families facing hardships and job barriers that make work difficult.
- Invest an additional $3.9 million in the Interim Disability Assistance program to provide income to 1,200 District residents who cannot work due to a disability.
Raise revenues in a progressive way.
- Reform the income tax filing rules for two-income households to ensure that all DC households with income above $350,000 pay the new rate of 8.95%.
- Implement the Schedule H Property Tax Relief Act of 2012, which raises the income limit and provides tax credit to thousands of low income DC households whose property taxes or rents are too high relative to their income.
- Eliminate the 2015 sunset date for the 2011 income tax increase on income above $350,000 and make the 8.95% rate permanent.
- Do not reinstate the tax break for residents who invest in out-of-state bonds. There is no jurisdiction in the nation that offers a blanket tax break for investing in bonds to build infrastructure in other states. Most DC residents who invest in these bonds are not low-income or retired. In fact, only one of 40 bond investors in DC is retired with income under $50,000. Restoring this tax break will ultimately cost taxpayers $30 million a year.
Ensure revenues are adequate and used to meet priority goals.
- Allow a portion of all future surplus funds to be invested in DC residents and neighborhoods.
- Offset reductions in traffic enforcement revenue with revenue from other sources, particularly traffic-related fees.
- Reform the use of tax abatements and other economic development incentives to include specific job creation and local hiring targets, clawback provisions for non-compliant companies, and sufficient resources for enforcement.
- Establish a commission to explore PILOT payments to compensate for the valuable property held by tax-exempt entities.
- Require that core budget needs be funded on a recurring basis rather than through “wish lists.”