Yesterday the D.C. Council passed a $9.4 billion 2013 budget on a first vote; a second and final vote will come on June 5. The council’s spending plan for the coming fiscal year made a number of changes to the proposal presented by Mayor Vince Gray (D) in late March, though much of what Gray proposed remains. Here are some of the things you should know for the 2013 fiscal year, which starts in October.
●No new taxes.
●Good news for affordable housing in D.C., which is quite scarce these days — D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) reinstated $18 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund and added $4 million to a local rent subsidy program and $2.5 million to the Home Purchase Assistance Program.
● Gray and council member David Catania (I-At Large) worked together to save $20 million in funding for the D.C. Healthcare Alliance, a program that offers health care to 19,000 undocumented immigrants in the city.
●Bars won’t be able to stay open an hour later on weekdays and weekends, as Gray had proposed, but will instead enjoy extended hours on 19 days, including the weekends coinciding with New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. (Longer hours will also come with the next two presidential inauguration weekends.) Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) included an amendment that would require Gray to report on how the extended hours affect D.C. neighborhoods. Liquor stores will remain shuttered on Sundays, but retailers — including supermarkets, corner stores and liquor stores — will be able to open two hours earlier than usual, at 7 a.m.
● In other booze news, the budget will allow distilleries to sell their spirits directly to consumers. The owners of New Columbia Distillers, who we spoke to a few months ago, pushed for this change so they could host tasting and sell their gin and whiskey once they start operations in the next few months.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]