Initial Release of Mayor Bowser’s FY23 Budget Could Be A Step in the Right Direction, Two Years After COVID Shutdown

March 16, 2022
Blog Post

Earlier today, Mayor Bowser released her Fiscal Year 2023 budget. This budget comes at an auspicious time, two years to the day that some in the District mark as the pandemic’s start when residents were asked to isolate for “two weeks to flatten the curve.” Since the pandemic began, we have had to navigate waters that few of us could have scarcely imagined, yet throughout all of this, advancing anti-racist policies has remained DC Action’s northstar. As we mark this two-year anniversary, we need our policymakers to rededicate themselves to advancing racial equity. That means working towards a long-term, just recovery, so the District works for everyone, not just those with power and privilege.

While only a portion of the Mayor’s budget was released today, and we look forward to reviewing it in its entirety, it appears to be responsive to many of the demands placed on it. This was the direct result of sustained organizing efforts coupled with informed policy analysis and clear, targeted recommendations by the broader community. It is a reminder that to get what we need, we must advocate for it.

Mayor Bowser appears to have proposed increased funding for rental assistance, permanent supportive housing for families and youth, out-of-school time programs, school-based mental health, and an extension of the recertification period for the DC Health Care Alliance from six months to one year. While there is much encouragement here that this budget is a step in the right direction, more details need to be revealed. But the path to a just recovery is a long one, and it will require bold, sustained and transformative investments if we are to uproot systemic racial inequities.

The DC Council will begin public hearings next week and vote on the budget in May. We are continuing to assess the Mayor’s proposed budget and plan on sharing a more in-depth analysis next week. As we do so, our staff, coalition leaders, and allies are preparing to raise our voices to lend support for the investments in this budget that we support and where we want to see improvement. We invite you to join us.