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Money from thin air. (www.howardtheater.org)

Whenever money gets moved around in the D.C. budget to make something happen, it’s always nice to know where it came from. In some cases, it’s extra money no longer needed for the original use. In other cases, it’s money borrowed from projects that can’t quite use it yet. In yet other cases, it’s a straight-out raid, which results in the money being put back where it came from.

In the case of the Howard Theatre, money was being taken from the renovation budget just a few months ago, when politicians figured it wasn’t ready to move forward yet. But on June 14th, the Office of the Secretary introduced a bill to essentially create $4 million more for the Howard’s budget through issuing bonds that will be backed by bonds from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing area. According to the fiscal impact statement, in the short term, that means adding $350,000 to the FY 2011 budget for one year of debt service on the bonds.

So, the development group working on the Howard gets enough money to push it through construction, bringing the District’s share of the $23.4 million project to $12 million.