City Cast

Local Civics: Budget Briefing

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on May 18   |   Updated on June 5
The Wilson Building, home of the D.C. Council. (Adam Fagen/Flickr)

The Wilson Building, home of the D.C. Council. (Adam Fagen/Flickr)

Wait! Before your eyes glaze over, there's actually some juicy stuff in here about how our taxes are being spent and where D.C. is headed. So, stick around for two minutes.

Back it up: D.C. Council voted Tuesday, giving initial approval to the $19.7 billion budget for 2024. That capped off a two-month-long budget season which has been full of tiffs between Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. lawmakers. Expiring federal COVID-19 aid and decreasing commercial property value means this will be one of the tightest budgets in a decade.

So, what passed and what didn’t?

  • Buses: You may remember there was contention over whether to use funding for free buses or a new K Street Corridor. Turns out we are getting neither (not yet at least). But we ARE getting 13 new 24-hour bus routes. The council also saved the three circulator bus routes that were on the chopping block. Yipee!
  • Congestion charge: D.C. Council’s proposed $2 “congestion charge” on Uber and Lyft rides got shot down, but there WILL be a 25-cent dispatch fee for all city rideshares going forward.
  • Police in schools: Years ago, the Council voted to slowly remove police from schools. That plan has been stopped. Police will remain in schools and council is forming a committee to find alternatives.
  • Social services: Bowser wanted to slash the $43M allocated for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, teacher funding, and $30M for victim's legal aid, but they were upheld and passed by the Council.

What’s next? A second and final vote on the 2024 budget is scheduled for May 30. There is some wiggle room between now and then to propose changes, but the final vote will cinch the knot on these policies.

Want the 15-minute version? Washington Post’s Michael Brice-Saddler gives the full rundown on today's City Cast DC episode.

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