Gray Administration Year Two Report Released

Photo by PoPville flickr user afagen

From the Mayor:

Earlier today I was pleased to announce that the District ended Fiscal Year 2012 with a healthy budget surplus of $417 million. This news is compelling evidence that the District’s finances are among the strongest of any jurisdiction in the nation. The District’s increasingly strong financial outlook, coupled with impressive job growth and a falling unemployment rate, is affirmation that our economic development strategies are working. With 55 construction cranes dotting our skyline, I can truly say that the amount of development in the District right now is unprecedented.

As we start the new year, I also wanted to take a moment to share with you the results of my administration at the end of 2012, my second year in office. As you will note, we’ve made tremendous progress in a short amount of time. On our watch:

· The District’s economy is booming, with more than 28,000 private sector jobs created over the past two years and the unemployment rate falling by nearly three percentage points;

· The District has hit a 50-year low in homicides – with the numbers dropping dramatically each of the last two years and nearly twenty times faster than the national average;

· The District is growing rapidly – adding more than 1,100 people a month – and is now more populous than both Vermont and Wyoming. The District has not had this mean residents since the 1970s;

· Public education enrollment is now at nearly 81,000 students and is growing at a rate not seen in 45 years as families return to the city and to public education; and

· Fiscal responsibility has been restored – the District now spends only what it takes in and the practice of raiding the District’s reserves to balance the budget has been eliminated. In addition, the city’s long-term fiscal health has again been protected by growing our critical rainy-day fund back to $1.5 billion.

I’ve attached a copy of my administration’s Report on Year Two and you can also read it online here.

The District’s increasing economic strength is strong evidence that our city has fully emerged from the country’s worst economic crisis in our lifetime more vibrant and stronger than before. It also means we have an opportunity to make several key strategic investments in affordable housing, our workforce, and public safety for which previously we did not have the necessary funds. I invite you to join me at my 2013 State of the District Address next Tuesday, February 5th at 7:00 PM at the Historic Sixth and I Synagogue where I will outline my plan to make these critical investments.

41 Comment

  • “The District has not had this mean residents since the 1970s;”

    Yeah, but Virginians are even meaner.

  • “Earlier today I was pleased to announce that the District ended Fiscal Year 2012 with a healthy budget surplus of $417 million. ”

    I wonder which mid-level DC Gov. employee will embezzle it……?

  • Psmitty311

    If we have a surplus of $417 million, but the Federal Government is running a deficit of… well… let’s not even get into it… why the heck are we asking them for $40 million to help with flooding in Bloomingdale?!? My place was destroyed in that flooding, and I still find this to be crazy! Maybe I’m just being mean.

    • Because other states get funds for similar reasons? It is not the responsibility of DC residents to balance the federal budget. If we are cutting out all sort of assistance payments, than sure, we should get nothing, but if the NY region is getting 60 billion (very much deservedly so), and other areas with disasters get cash, than why shouldn’t we get cash as well? I am not certain what the precedent is, but if Kansas would get cash if they had flooding, we should get cash too. We are already held to a double standard voting-wise, I have no interest in expanding that.

      • Gimmie a break.

        Flooding because DC failed to maintain or upgrade their own sewer system is a hell of a lot different than NJ getting flooding relief because of a hurricane.

        I hope the Feds take that 40 million dollar finding request and mail it back to Norton with a middle finger drawn on the envelope, and I am a District resident.

        DC already gets tons of freebies paid for by the Feds (like the DC court and prison system which DC taxpayers don’t pay for).

        • I just want to point out that it was Holmes-Norton that made that request, not the City. And from the article I read, it was clear she didn’t ask the Mayor or Council before making the request.

        • None of your arguments are convincing whatsoever. The two disasters are much different in magnitude, but not otherwise. NJ got crushed by the storm, which was exacerbated in some form by a warming world, largely out of the control of NJ/NY/CT.

          DC got hit by flooding, which is certainly exacerbated by things well beyond our control, IE loss of green space in Virginia and MD, and that same warming world causing ridiculously intense storms, all causing more water into the sewer system=flooding.

          Regarding your mentioning of the courts and prison, I know you are an intelligent guy, so I will let it slide here, and won’t poke holes in that claim.

          • omg….bloomingdale flooded because of loss of greenspace in MD, VA???
            blimely i would poke a hole but how does one poke a hole in a gaping chasm?

          • Have to agree with Joker here. Absolutely no reason Bloomingdale residents deserve a bailout (pun intended) because of aging sewer infrastructure. That problem has been well known for a long time & yet people invest in homes that are doomed to flood. I think there’s a saying about cake & it’s consumption that might fit here.

          • Yeah, it’s all connected. Loss of green space in the surrounding jurisdictions increases impervious area, significantly increasing our flood risk downstream. It’s not an easy problem to address.

      • Kyle,

        The Federal government operates the District’s court system, saving the District nearly 300 million per year. Do you deny that this is true?

        You also seem tot be getting caught up in an “act of god” storm which charaterizes a hurricane and situation NJ is in, and a normal rainstorm which floods some basements in one neighborhood in DC.

        Please tell me you see the difference.

        And I would also like to see how in the world you connected flooding in Brookland DC with the spread of suburbia in Fairfax County. Please do tell.

        • I guess I wll have to go into it. Just because the cost of the courts system in DC is 300 million, doesn’t mean we save 300 million. At the risk of attempting to get too complex (as I am not a subject matter expert by any means) DC tries all sorts of federal cases that have nothing to do with DC. Much like the Richmond federal court, we try WAY more than what would be our fair share, and incur those costs. Sure, do we save some money by having our murder trials paid for, it sounds like we do. This is so off topic its ridiculous. We also incur costs for supporting the inauguration, and for Occupy Wall Street in McPherson Sq.. Even if we are reimbursed by the feds, are these costs covered completely? We also don’t get to tax the FBI buildling, and COUNTLESS other federal buildings. Does it come out in the wash?

          It doesn’t matter, because this is a completely separate issue. Were there costs incurred due to a disaster. Yes. Do other municipalities get costs incurred for their similar disasters? If yes, then we should too.

          Regarding the water from MoCo and PG, are you serious? Of course less greenspace in SS and Bethesda results in more water in the DC sewer system. I am very much pro-development, but to dispute this fact is simple ignorance.

          Regarding the comparison of the NJ/NY hurricane and this flooding, were they both acts of god. I say yes. Heavy rains, and a hurricane both come from something out of our control. Like I said, the NJ incident was many magnitudes worse, but they were both acts of god.

          I didn’t even think I was being that controversial? This all comes down to the fact that if other areas get funding for similar incidents, we should get it too, which shouldn’t be controversial in the least.

          Should any area get funding for things like this: controversial
          If one area gets funding for things like this, then other areas should as well: not controversial

        • Kyle,

          I suggest you research the issue before proceeding as you are getting to the point of hilarious.

          The fedreal government operates the District of Columbia Court System. You know, the local court that deals with the daily local felony crimes, such as robbery, murder, aggravated assault, theft, and arson.

          This is COMPLETELY SEPERATE from the Federal Courts which yes, (like everywhere else) are paid for by the feds.

          Also, Congress appropriates approximate 600 milllion a year to the District (it was 637 million last year) to compensate the District specificially for inability to tax federal lands buildings, terrorism and security programs etc. This is outside the billions the feds spend on healthcare, welfare, schooling programs etc.

          The District always submits and always gets refunded for police and rescue costs associated with the inauguration. Until this year, DDOT also used to backcharge the governement to repave Pennsylvania Ave every 4 years.

          Lastly, other states, jurisdictions (including the District) get reimbursed for NATURAL DISASTERS. Brookland sewer issues are not a NATURAL DISASTER. Ever hear of the Mayor of Cleveland asking the feds to pay to unclog a storm drain? Didn’t think so.

          I suggest you get up to speed on the federal appropriations, budgets etc that affect DC, and how the Districts own budget functions before you start hyperventilating over issues you clearly don’t under stand.

          • You have made a lot of points, all of which are basically irrelevant. I don’t much care that we got 637 million to “pay” for the lack of ability to tax our own land, or to make our own laws, or choose how high we want to build our buildings, or tax other states residents earning their incomes here. You mention I am getting to the point of hilarity, and then go on to mention other federal spending in the DC area. Try and stay on topic here.

            We are already held to a different standard in many ways, and my point still stands, and is rock-solid. If other jurisdictions get funding for this type of thing, such as a a clogged sewer in Cleveland, than we should as well.

            Do you know for a fact that funding for these types of things isn’t appropriated? Because it is. Regularly. I don’t feel the need to find examples, but I suppose I would be happy to if you continue to challenge me on this point, of which you are undoubtedly incorrect. Go through Coburn’s yearly list, and I am certain you can find many examples of things worse than this, paid for by the federal government.

          • My question: How is this project moving forward if it is not funded, not approved by the DC City Council, not approved by the historic preservation review board and with ZERO input from neighbors? Why is no one asking what impact this will have on the plan to develop McMillan? Why is no one questioning the no-bid contracts that were just awarded last week under the auspices of an “imminent emergency?”

            This whole thing stinks.

          • “Do you know for a fact that funding for these types of things isn’t appropriated? Because it is. Regularly”

            Kyle, c’mon….now you are just trolling. You aren’t providing examples because you can’t. Simply closing your eyes and wishing it was so, doesn’t make it true.

            If you can show me that Congressman are regularly submitting for operations and maintenance dollars to fix regular ol city sewer that has failed because of neglect, then you would. But you can’t because it doesn’t happen. Full Stop.

            You seem to be bothered by lots of things like, the height act, the federal city reservations, etc. Well, all of these things existing long before you were born, and long before you moved here, but you strike me as the type who moved here not having a clue why people had “Taxation without Representation” on their license plates.

            The state of MD or Virginia is no more than 6 miles in any cardinal direction from the center of the District. I suggest you move to one of them if something an generic as a “height act” gets you into such a froth.

          • I’m with Kyle. Maybe not on every point, but his basic premise is that the states get plenty of pork for random reasons that have nothing to do with reasonable federal spending. Personally, I’d like to decrease that, but so long as that’s true, I’d like DC to get it’s share.

            More importantly, so long as I have to pay federal taxes without having voting Represenatation in both houses of Congress, and so long as our so-called allies from VA and MD put the kibosh on any effort to collect a commuter tax, I find the outrage over DC putting its hand out for a few more federal dollars a little absurd.

            DC is treated like crap by the feds, and what do popville commenters do? Apparently, aside from Kyle, they just pile on.

          • Joker, your incessant need to attempt to belittle me just makes you a small, small man. To argue that there is no “pork” in the federal budget is simply naive or ignorant, or both. The original Hurricane Sandy bill of all things included funding for Fisheries in Alaska… Specifically regarding sewers, I assumed you would google, but apparently I assumed too much. The following is an EPA link to ten federal programs SPECIFICALLY aimed at combined sewer and wastewater issues, a full six of which appear to be pork, specifically designed for regions or even specific portions of states, including indians in Alaska, and Colonias, which are small unincorporated communities along the US/Mexico border. You were wrong. Full stop.


            None of these things you referenced have gotten me into a froth, but they are all valid issues, counterbalancing the federal funding the district receives. The fact that they existed before I bought my home in Petworth is wildly irrelevant, but again, that is something you simply can’t avoid in your quest to make yourself feel good about this.

            The fact these issues exist means nothing. I am not one to simply turn and say “may I have another sir.” What difference does it make why I moved here.

            I am not certain what your point in telling me to move from the District from, but I bought here, so the city is stuck with me for a while longer.

  • 400 million from parking ticket scam in NW.
    17 million from the “recycling in the trash bin” scam in NW.

  • I always wanted the creepiest-looking mayor possible, who is also most likely a vampire.

  • Every time I see his photo I’m tempted to believe in Zombies …

  • The fact that Gray is taking full credit for:

    Massive Federal deficit spending which results in a booming DC economy, that was booming before Gray was elected.

    And the public school numbers, what a crock. Yes, there are 81K students in the District, but the number in DCPS fell again this year, just like it did last year as more kids go to charter schools.

    Well done Mr. future felon, would you like to take credit for the unseasonably warm temperature today as well?

    • “Massive Federal deficit spending which results in a booming DC economy, that was booming before Gray was elected.”

      The federal payroll in DC has been decreasing for years. Did you even bother to read the report, it’s lists 28k “private sector” jobs.

      Fine you hate the guy, ok we get it. But, he’s doing a good job.

      • A huge number of which are contracts from the government’s federal teat.

        The fact that federal contractors are counted as “private sector” jobs are a joke. The only thing “private sector” about those jobs is that an executive is pocketing a huge amount while the worker bees get paid less.

        Reagan’s biggest giveaway to his deep pocketed friends. Those are the real welfare queens.

      • Federal spending in the DC Metro on salaries (35 billion last year) is but a small drop in the bucket.

        Total Federal Spending in the DCMSA was 170 billion in 2010. It was 135 Billion a year in 2008, a 35 billion dollar PER YEARm or 26% increase in 2 years. Federal spending consists of 43% of the total DC Metro economy.

        Yeah, Vince Gray is to credit for that.

        It doesn’t take any skill to be a mayor when y ou are awash in federal money that more than compensates for any mismanagement.

        • Why are you using metro area statistics to discuss DC’s performance? In addition to DC, the Washington MSA encompasses something like 15 VA counties, 5 MD counties, 1 in WV. You think all that spending has a direct effect on the DC government?

          I’ll bet the bulk of the effects of that $170B winds up in Richmond and Annapolis, not the Wilson Building.

    • DC pays for DCPS and public charter charters.

  • It doesn’t seem fair to call something a “rainy-day fund”, and then characterize the use of those funds during the worst economy since the Great Depression as “raiding the District’s reserves”. If the Great Recession doesn’t count as a rainy day, then what does?

    That said, I’m happy he’s dedicating this surplus to replenishing it.

  • brookland_rez

    I can’t say I am the biggest Gray fan, but the city has continued to prosper under him. Now if we can get the remaining corrupt politicians out of office….

  • Do a google search on federal earmarks for sewer repair. Here’s just one result:

    Turns out that both EPA and CDBG funds are routinely spent on sewer repair all over the country.

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