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The rollout of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s budget proposal has not been without hiccups: Last-minute changes meant budget books had to be reprinted. The books didn’t make it to the council until Monday, and fewer than usual arrived. And now D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray is miffed because a key part of the budget proposal remains MIA a week later.
Behold an election-year budget season.
That key part is the Budget Support Act, which is the package of legislation that makes all the necessary policy changes to “support” the budget request. It contains details on fee increases, tax modifications, changes to legislative initiatives, and, at least in past budgets, earmarks.
Today Gray dispatched a letter to Fenty saying, in essence: WTF dude?
“I am writing to you on an issue of basic government transparency, for which I have substantial concern with the actions of your administration,” Gray writes. He points out that council staffers asked Fenty staffers for a copy, and that the Fenty staffers said that it would not be completed until next Monday.
“If the Budget Support Act is not completed,” Gray writes, “how could the Chief Financial Officer have certified your budget submission?”
The legislation, he continues, “contains over $100 million in tax and fee increases which the Council and the public need to examine.” (Note the use of “tax” increases—-a challenge to Fenty’s claim that his budgets contain no such thing.)
By law, the budget is due to the council on April 1.