Mayor Bowser’s Budget Proposal is, at Best, Uneven in its Approach to Addressing the Needs of Children and Youth

Press Statement
For Immediate Release: April 9th, 2024

Contact Info

Tawana Jacobs
Director, Brand and Communications
DC Action

DC Action Executive Director Kimberly Perry is issuing the following statement in response to Mayor Bowser’s fiscal year 2025 budget proposal:  

“District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget proposal is uneven, at best, in its approach to addressing the needs of children, youth and families. DC Action appreciates the Mayor’s commitment to increased investments in out-of-school time programming and protecting critical family health programs such as Home Visiting Services, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance. However, we have deep concerns about potential funding reductions to Youth Homelessness Services, the Child Care Subsidy Program, and the complete elimination of the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund, which also funds HealthCare4ChildCare

Mayor Bowser’s cuts to the early childhood system are devastating to District families with young children. Our local child care sector and its early educator workforce deserve better. Current child care challenges cost District businesses nearly $80 million and families $252 million in lost earnings each year. If Mayor Bowser truly cares about supporting downtown business recovery and economic growth, gutting the child care lifeline for working parents is counterproductive and shortsighted. It is imperative that the DC Council reverse this terrible proposal.

In addition to zeroing out pay equity, we are also deeply disappointed to see these additional cuts to programs District families with children rely on:

  • $10 million cut to child care subsidies, which helps families afford high-quality early learning opportunities. 
  • A $22 million cut to Emergency Rental Assistance to help keep families in their homes.
  • Failure to maintain the FY24 local increases to SNAP benefits for residents facing food insecurity.
  • Tens of millions in reductions to programs that support families experiencing homelessness, including cuts to permanent supportive housing vouchers, limiting access to rapid rehousing and capping the Career MAP program to prohibit new families from enrolling.
  • A $10 million reduction to school-based behavioral health services.
  • Failure to expand invaluable early childhood behavioral health services through Healthy Futures.
  • More than $400,000 in reductions to youth homelessness services. 
  • Elimination of the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children, which helps vulnerable families navigate cases and services in Child Family Services Administration (CFSA).
  • A cumulative $66 million reduction to the Baby Bonds initiative, over the financial plan, achieved by reducing program income eligibility by two-thirds and cutting annual contribution rates in half, which severely handcuffs the District’s ability to close extreme racial wealth and opportunity gaps.
  • A preemptive 30% cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) monthly cash assistance for working families to balance the budget in out-years.  
  • Failure to comply with the Nonprofit Fair Compensation Act which requires the District to supplementarily pay nonprofits for their indirect costs; long-time underfunding of the nonprofit provider sector has led to a hemorrhaging workforce and major gaps in our social safety net. 

Asking those with the least to sacrifice the most will only worsen the District’s worst-in-the-nation wealth gap and undermine efforts to improve public safety, school attendance, academic achievement, and economic revitalization both downtown and in local neighborhoods throughout the city. This budget proposal does not reflect a so-called ‘shared sacrifice.’ The Council now controls the District’s final FY25 budget outcome. They must make a different choice to invest in shared abundance; we ask them to act with urgency to raise new and equitable revenue to restore critical investments that put our kids and their futures first.”  


About DC Action

DC Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization making the District of Columbia a place where all kids grow up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. DC Action uses research, data, and a racial equity lens to break down barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential. Our collaborative advocacy campaigns bring the power of young people and all residents to raise their voices to create change.