Here’s one revenue problem Mayor Marion Barry can’t blame on Congress: According to a recent report by D.C. Auditor Russell Smith, at the end of fiscal year 1994, deadbeat taxpayers and other debtors owed the District $598 million—almost as much as the entire annual federal payment to the city. In spite of all the mayor’s griping about stingy congressional appropriations, District officials have failed to collect $279 million in taxes. They also neglected to recoup $257 million owed to the city by other governments—including the feds—for things like Medicaid, foster care, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and $62 million in other debts. Smith says D.C. officials counted many of the unpaid bills as “anticipated revenue” in budget forecasts, thereby underreporting the real size of the city’s budget deficit. The auditor adds that he hopes new Chief Financial Officer Anthony Williams will develop a better accounting system, which even officials at the Department of Finance and Revenue agree is “obsolete.” CP

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