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Monday kicks off a months-long budget process, as Mayor Muriel Bowser released her funding priorities for fiscal year 2021 and financial planning. 

When Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt offered his rather grim financial outlook in late April—projecting a $722 million revenue loss for the current fiscal year that ends in September, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a $774 million revenue loss for FY2021 that begins in October—many anticipated tax increases or major programmatic cuts. The mayor’s budget doesn’t appear to do this. Instead, Bowser’s proposed $16.7 billion budget for FY2021 relies heavily on past savings and surpluses, as well as hiring and pay freezes for D.C. government employees, to address expected revenue losses due to the pandemic. 

The proposed budget also makes investments in education and housing, increasing per-student funding by 3 percent and committing $100 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund. But investments are not as significant as the public might like. For example, $5 million was budgeted for permanent supportive housing units, but homeless advocates called for nearly $52 million

“The impact on our revenues has been significant,” said Bowser at a press conference on Monday. “Just as this pandemic has forced our residents and businesses to make difficult spending decisions, the D.C. government has been forced to do the same thing.”

How did the mayor manage to get away with no tax increases or disruptions in services outlined in her budget and financial planning? Officials credit D.C.’s 24 years of balanced budgets, AAA bond ratings, fully funded pensions and health care, and fiscal year 2019 surplus, along with cash in local and federal reserves.  

Read the full story on the mayor’s FY2021 budget and financial planning online. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • D.C. reported nine additional deaths on Sunday and eight additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the total number of lives lost due to the coronavirus disease to 392. As of May 18, 7,270 of the 37,825 people tested for COVID-19 turned up positive results. Capacity in the health care system continues to be under the metric needed to reopen D.C.; 72 percent of hospital beds and 52 percent of ventilators are in use. [EOM

  • The scenes at churches that reopened over the weekend in Maryland and Virginia. [DCist]

  • An individual experiencing homelessness who was set on fire along H Street NE succumbed to his injuries. Police ruled the incident a homicide. [Twitter

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Gertrude Stein Democratic Club doesn’t endorse in Wards 2, 4, and 8. [Twitter]

  • Jack Evans: the candidate for vacant storefronts. [Georgetown Metropolitan]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser gives permission for six stores to reopen for “grab-and-go” and curbside pickup. [NBC]

  • ICYMI: National voices weigh in on the Ward 2 primary. [DCist]

  • Regional COVID-19 response highlights D.C. statehood. [Post]

  • The case for ranked choice voting. [Post editorial board]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Granville Moore’s will switch over to an Italian comfort food restaurant on May 26. [WCP]

  • Local take-out best suited for a picnic. [Post]

  • A guide to all of the safety guides proposed for restaurants across the country. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Here’s how the pandemic has changed Pride this year. [DCist]

  • Local photographers take stunning quarantine self-portraits. [Washingtonian]

  • Shakespeare Theatre Company presents The Shakespeare Hour, live Zoom conversations that explore the Bard’s canon. [Shakespeare Theatre Company]

  • Submissions are now open for DC Public Library and Pepco’s joint partnership arts contest Know Your Power, in which teens are invited to enter an original work of writing, photography, illustration, or music that expresses thoughts on a social issue. [DCPL]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Former NFL star Dexter Manley, 61,tested positive for COVID-19 on May 2 and has been hospitalized since Friday morning. A person close to his family told the Post that Manley is “stable and resting comfortably.” [Post]

  • The 145th edition of the Preakness Stakes has been rescheduled for Oct. 3. The race was originally planned for this past Saturday. [AP]

  • The Last Dance documentary made no mention of Michael Jordan’s less than glamorous last stop in the NBA. In 2001, after retiring for a second time from the Chicago Bulls, Jordan stepped back onto the court for the Washington Wizards. [Bleacher Report, WCP]

  • Ted Leonsis, owner of the Capitals, Mystics, and Wizards, believes the NHL and NBA seasons will resume this year and the WNBA’s will start—just without fans. [Russian Machine Never Breaks

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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