The District of Columbia budget process from beginning to end is explained. Included are advocacy opportunities and suggestions for what to do at each point in the process. A simple and easy to use guide.
ereDC Budget Process Star t h Budget instructions & targets Advocacy opportunities Talk with EOM about making fundamental OBP prepares instructions for agency budget devel- changes to the budget including reallocating opment for the following fiscal year. The executive resources across clusters/budget titles. develops agency budget targets. Talk with EOM about making changes to one -time funding allocations. Agency restructuring Talk with EOM and deputy mayors (if appro- Agencies may reorganize the agency. They must priate) about implementing outcome meas- enter changes into the online budget system. ures; make recommendations about useful July measures. Do budget analysis of specific issues to make the case for your ideas for the next fiscal year (two years away). Budget instructions & targets, cont. See July for information. Agency restructuring, cont. August September See July for information. Agency restructuring, cont. Agency deadline for obligating funds See July for information. With some exceptions, agencies stop spending in current fiscal year. Budget kickoff Agencies receive instructions from OBP and targets from EOM. Agencies develop budget submissions There are a number of steps along the way that may Agencies prepare operating and capital budget sub- happen over periods of time or in one month or an- missions for following fiscal year. other. To save space, they are listed here and shown in the process only once. Fiscal year ends Congress may approve the budget Current year ends September 30. Mayor addresses spending pressures (if necessary) Mayor and DC Council revise current fiscal year Revenue estimates budget (if necessary) OCFO releases quarterly estimates for a five-year The mayor may implement a spending freeze period including the current fiscal year. Development and publication of CSFL Congress may approve budget 1
Agencies develop budget submissions, cont.See September for information. Agencies develop budget submissions, cont.Capital budget meetings See September for information.OBP meets with agencies and clusters to develop Novemberrequest parameters, goals, and priorities. Operating budget submissions due Budgets may be due in November or December.Fiscal year begins OctoberNew year begins October 1. Capital budget submissions dueContinuing Resolution (CR) Mayor addresses spending pressures (if necessary)If Congress does not approve DC budget by startof year, they may approve CR. This limits whatcan be spent.Mayor and DC Council revise current fiscal yearbudget (if necessary) Agencies develop budget submissions, cont. See September for information. Operating budget submissions due Budgets may be due in November or December. Advocacy opportunities Capital budget BRTs December Talk with agencies about funding and num- Revenue estimates bers served in operating budget. See September for information. Talk with EOM, agencies, and deputy mayors (if appropriate) about the capital budget. Mayor implements spending freeze to current year Keep in touch with mayor’s budget office budget (if necessary) about implementation of the budget with fo- Depending on revenue and spending patterns, the cus on spending pressures, etc. mayor may freeze certain kinds of spending for all or Give suggestions to DC Council budget office some government agencies. and chairman about budget requirements for the next fiscal year. Council votes on budget requirements for next fiscal year (legislation) 2
JanuaryCurrent Services Funding Level (CSFL) releasedOBP scrubs budget submissions to ensure they comply with the in-structions and eliminates redundancies and verifies costs.Budget scrubbing Advocacy opportunitiesOBP projects spending for the next fiscal year based on current yearprograms. Keep in touch with mayor’s budget office re: spending pressures, etc.BRTs Give questions related to current and pastOBP, EOM, and agencies meet to review the submission and discuss year agency performance to appropriatepolicy initiatives and cost saving proposals. council committee. Share your budget, policy, and program rec-Council approves performance oversight and budget hearing sched- ommendations with EOM and the DC Councilules Work with others who have the same priori- ties.Council develops budget priorities Share ideas with others—journalists, blog-The Council prioritizes its policy and thus budget goals for the year. gers, on your web site or blog, etc.The list is used during budget deliberations. Provide information on needs, examples of similar initiatives in other jurisdictions, etc.DC Council committees submit advance questions to agencies for per- to EOM and DC Council.formance oversight hearings Testify at performance oversight hearings. Prepare clients to testify at performance oversight hearings. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) released The CAFR is the city’s official annual audit and is released by the CFO. Mayor develops budget proposal The mayor considers CSFL and BRT results and makes modifications based on his policy goals and city’s financial situation. During this time, the performance measures are finalized. February Agency performance oversight hearings The Council holds hearings to assess past and current performance of government agencies; the public may testify. Revenue estimates The quarterly estimate is released. The February estimates are the "official binding revenue estimate that is used to develop the budget for the next fiscal year."1 3
Mayor develops budget proposal, cont. MarchSee February for information.Pencils down for Mayor’s next fiscal year budgetEOM and OBP finish budget. Date depends on releasedate set by DC Council (see December). Advocacy opportunitiesMayor proposes supplemental current year budget (ifnecessary) Share your budget, policy and program rec-Development depends on spending pressures, revenue, ommendations with EOM and the DC Coun-and other considerations. May also happen in other cil. Provide information on needs, examplesmonths. of similar initiatives in other jurisdictions, etc.Agency performance oversight hearings, cont. Work with others who have the same priori-See February for information. ties. Share ideas with others—journalists, blog-DC Council committees submit advance questions re: gers, on your website or blog, etc.next budget to agencies Prepare clients to testify at budget hearings. Testify at budget hearings.Mayor releases next fiscal year’s budgetRelease date dependent on requirements set by DCCouncil (see December). Mayor releases next fiscal year’s budget Release date dependent on requirements set by DC Council (see December). April Budget hearings The DC Council holds public hearings; the public may testify.4
Budget hearings, cont.See April for information. MayDC Council-EOM negotiationsEOM responds to budget changes put forthby the DC Council. JuneBudget markups DC Council-EOM negotiations, cont. See May for more information.Council committees mark-up the proposedbudget. DC Council votes on BSADC Council votes on BRA and BSA The Council holds second of two votes on the BSA.The council votes on the BRA. This is thefirst and only vote on this legislation. The Mayor signs or vetoes budget legislationcouncil also takes the first of two votes on The mayor signs the Budget Request Act and Budget Supportthe BSA. Act and sends to the President who forwards to Congress. Advocacy opportunities go — Stay in touch with DC Council ver ly! members and staff along with all o o Ju EOM to move your agenda. art ack t St b5
AcronymsBRA: Budget Request Act OBP: Office of Budget and PlanningThe Home Rule Act2 prescribes a process for the District to OBP is one division of the Office of the Chief Financial Officerpass an annual budget. The District uses the BRA as the (OCFO). OBP "prepares, monitors, analyzes, and executesvehicle to comply with the Charter and transmit the city’s the Districts budget, including operating, capital and enter-plan to the President of the United States. The legislation prise funds, in a manner that ensures fiscal integrity andmust "specify the agencies and purposes for which funds maximizes service to taxpayers."6are being requested."3 PS, NPS: Personal Services, Nonpersonal ServicesBRT: Budget Review Team Personal Services are those related to DC government"The Budget Review Team (BRT) is a collective of represen- agency staffing—namely salaries and benefits.tatives from the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM) and/or Office of the City Administrator (OCA), the Office of the Nonpersonal Services is a budget category that includes ex-Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), and District agencies under penditures not related to personnel. NPS includes supplies,the Mayor’s authority. . . The purpose of the BRT meeting utilities, technology, rent, and equipment. NPS also includesis to review agency budget submissions in a given fiscal contracts and grants which do contain salaries and benefits.year and consider all information needed to recommend to But these salaries and benefits are not associated with DCthe Mayor a proposed budget for each agency. . . Each government staff.BRT meeting is a piece of the puzzle that brings togetherthe entire District budget. The results of the BRTs directlyaffect the Mayor’s budget submission."4 Endnotes 1The public is not allowed to participate in the BRTs. Materi- Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Tax Rates and Revenues,als generated specifically for BRTs are considered "work Revenue Estimates, http://cfo.dc.gov/cfo/cwp/product" and thus not released to the public. view,a,1324,q,612671.asp 2 http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/pages/dc-home-rule 3 District of Columbia Home Rule Act (amended through March 13,BSA: Budget Support Act 2009), Public Law 93-198; 87 Stat. 774,This legislation incorporates any policy modifications re- D.C. Official Code § 1-201.01 et seq., Approved December 24,quiring a change in law. 1973, Revised November 1, 2008, online http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/pages/dc-home-rule, p. 28 4CFO/OCFO: Chief Financial Officer/Office of the Chief Fi- Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Draft FY 2012 Operatingnancial Officer Budget Manual, November 5, 2010, p. 37 5 Office of the Chief Financial Officer, About the CFO,The CFO is responsible for the "oversight and direct super- http://cfo.dc.gov/cfo/cwp/vision of the financial and budgetary functions of the Dis- view,a,1327,q,591020,cfoNav,|33299|,.asptrict government" including maintaining a financial man- 6 Office of the Chief Financial Officer, About the OCFO, Central Fi-agement system, and managing the city’s borrowing and nancial Operations,debt.5 http://cfo.dc.gov/cfo/cwp/view,a,1327,q,591013.asp6
This and that Where to find things The comment period for committee budget hearings is The mayor’s budget proposal is posted online in the compressed. It is only a few days. (The comment period hours following the transmittal to the Council. It can be for regular hearings is usually a week or 10 days.) found here: dc.gov and/or budget.dc.gov. Hard copies of In the budget books, the Districts budget is presented in the budget are generally not given to the public. The tables that track appropriations and expenditures by divi- Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance/OCA/OBP may sion, control center, and object class. Strictly speaking, make CD-ROMs available. the only "line items" in the Districts budget are the fig- Revenue estimates: These are found in the "Tax Rates ures that appear in the Budget Request Act. The mayor and Revenues" section of cfo.dc.gov. holds a line-item veto authority with respect to these fig- Approved and prior year budgets: budget.dc.gov and ures, and the Council may override the mayors line-item in the "Annual Operating Budget and Capital Plan" section veto. of cfo.dc.gov. The city has moved to a Division-Based Structure that Which Council committee is responsible for over- better reflects the way agencies operate. It is illustrated seeing which executive branch agencies: This infor- here: mation is in the Council rules. The rules are online in the City Council’s Legislative Information Management Sys- tem (LIMS) as PR(CPnumber)-0001. The organizational rules are always the first resolution of the CP. Current Services Funding Level: This is posted on the CFO website (cfo.dc.gov). Created by Susie Cambria, MSW, Public Policy Consultant. You can get in touch with Susie via email, email@example.com, or phone, (301) 832-2339. Read her blog:http://susiecambria.blogspot.com DC Budget Process by Suzanne Cambria is li- censed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States Publication date: February 2, 2012 (edited)7