This morning’s speech by Mayor Elect Vincent Gray before the press was fairly somber in tone, thanks in part to the massive $181M gap in the FY 2011 budget, and the $345M gap in the FY 2012 budget. Gray promised to keep tax increases off the table in the speech until such time as they’ve identified potential sources of waste in the current budget.
As Gray points out, out of the $5.3B total, less than a billion of that total can be considered even remotely discretionary. $1.5B is related to fixed costs, debt service and things like Metro, and the rest is divided into four pools: salaries at DCPS/MPD/DCFEMS, salaries of District employees, Medicaid/Charter Schools, and everything else.
As part of identifying potential sources of savings, Gray is recommending that all capital projects that the city is considering, but hasn’t spent money on, be frozen until further notice. He’s also pulling for a blue ribbon commission to help manage the capital positions of the District. We’re going to be calling this the Pabst Blue Ribbon Commission, given the subject, if you’ll pardon the joke.