D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson said Tuesday that the Council will vote in favor of most of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed budget Wednesday morning, WAMU 88.5 reported.
“The big picture is… the mayor will be receiving in the budget that I am proposing tomorrow 99 percent of what she’s requested,” Mendelson told WAMU 88.5.
Bowser’s proposed $12.9 billion budget included investing $100 million in affordable housing in an effort to end homelessness by 2018 and an increase of about $32 million in funding for D.C. public and charter schools.
Bowser proposed raising the sales tax in D.C. from 5.75 to 6 percent to cover the cost of her budget increases and help fund her war on homelessness, a move rejected by the Council two weeks ago. She cited a poll from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute that said 70 percent of D.C. residents supported the tax hike. Jack Evans, a Ward 2 Council member and chair of the finance committee, opposed Bowser’s sales tax increase, saying it was fiscally irresponsible and the increase should happen when D.C.’s economic growth slows down.
Mendelson said that the council will still be able to fund many of her proposed initiatives without relying on the $22 million in projected revenue from the rejected tax increase. The Council approved an increased $10 million to services for the homeless.
“We’re going above and beyond in areas where there’s a real need for citizens in the District, whether we’re dealing with homelessness, or affordable housing, or with seniors, or with victims of crime,” Mendelson said.
The Council also cut in half the number of body cameras Bowser proposed for Metropolitan Police Department Offices from a proposed 2,400 cameras with a price tag of about $5.1 million to 1,200 new cameras. Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie said a full commitment to the policy should wait until the Council agrees on issues surrounding body cameras, including who will have access to the footage.
Bowser first presented her budget in the beginning of April and the Council soon reviewed her proposal and provided criticism.