Regarding the March 26 Metro article “Auditor sounds an alarm on D.C. budget”:
Concerns have been voiced that the proposed fiscal 2020 D.C. budget and financial plan are not responsible and could result in the return of the federal control board.
Federal law requires the District’s independent chief financial officer to certify that budgets submitted by the mayor to the D.C. Council (and ultimately to Congress) are balanced. In my budget certification letter, I state that the fiscal 2020 to 2023 budget and financial plan are balanced. I stand by that statement.
The District’s AAA credit rating is the result of several best practices in municipal government. Most cities develop a balanced budget for a single year. The District, however, balances the current year’s budget and a four-year financial plan. The District has a self-imposed debt limit and a long-range capital plan, which moves all District assets to a state of good repair by 2028. No other city or state has developed a budget and funding plan to achieve this goal.
Additionally, federal law authorizes the CFO to control spending when necessary and requires the CFO to develop quarterly revenue estimates to ensure budgets remain balanced. Independent CFO staff are also embedded inside all District agencies to ensure that the control board does not return.
Federal authority provided to the CFO and responsible fiscal policies adopted by the District government ensure that we will remain a fiscally strong city. Comments to the contrary are simply not based on facts.
Jeffrey S. DeWitt, Washington
The writer is the chief financial officer of the District.