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$20 Million Buys a Lot

Friday, November 9, 2007

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi called the loss of millions in an alleged tax revenue scam "immaterial" to the overall financial stability of the District. But that $20 million could have paid for a lot. A few alternative uses:

-- Hire, train and equip 285 police officers ($70,000 each).

-- Offer intensive drug treatment for 1,166 addicts ($17,141 a person).

-- Hire 472 teachers ($42,370 each) or 531 librarians ($37,648 each) for the public schools.

-- Buy uniforms for 1,142 school bands ($250 a uniform, 70 students per band).

-- Purchase 1.8 million HIV oral swab kits ($11 each).

-- Provide insurance for 13,000 uninsured children ($1,536 a child).

-- Open five senior wellness centers ($3.6 million each).

-- Purchase 40 firetrucks ($500,000 each).

-- Assist 259 low- and moderate-income home buyers with $70,000 down-payment loans, plus closing costs, under the Home Purchase Assistance Program.

-- Buy 40 hybrid Metrobuses or 10 rail cars to help alleviate congestion.

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