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DC Government has $1.5 Billion Stash

6:50 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- After today nobody can dispute the District of Columbia is on a roll. There is commercial development in every quandrant and 1,100 new residents every month.

On Tuesday, city leaders revealed the District's fund balance or savings account had climbed to an impressive $1.5 billion dollars.

"None has been able to come back as well and as fast as this city has, said Natwar Gandhi, the Chief Financial Officer. 

The city ended the last fiscal year with a $417 million surplus, which is included in the $1.5 billion dollar savings. 

"We need to keep the dollars we have now in the surplus," Mayor Gray said. 

Mayor Gray and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson agree the present savings won't be spent on social services or returned to taxpayers, not this year.

But pressure is already mounting to spend at least part of the stash on much needed social services including affordable housing assistance.

DC Councilman Jim Graham says 25 percent of the residents in his ward one live below the poverty line. "Do we have to save every dime (of the surplus)," he said.

Ward two Councilman Jack Evans, Chairman of the Finance and revenue Committee says while he favors banking the entire $1.5 billion, he wants pay raises for police and firefighters. He also wants to rollback early some temporary sales taxes and taxes on out of state bonds.

The DC Council will hold a hearing next week on the surplus. It appears the votes are there to bank the entire amount with even more new money on the way, from sales tax revenue from the National's playoff series and the Presidential Inaugural events.

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