By Patrick Madden
To get a handle on D.C.’s growing budget deficit, city leaders are freezing government hiring and employee raises.
Mayor Adrian Fenty’s executive order not only freezes spending on new hires and raises, it also calls for an across-the-board 10 percent cut in expenditures by city agencies.
The city is facing a $175 million shortfall that must be fixed in the next several months. Officials blame the deficit on a number of things, chief among them: a huge drop in projected sales tax revenue.
City Council Chairman Vincent Gray says the freeze will slam the breaks on spending and buy city leaders some time as they figure out where to find the money.
“We’ve not only cut to the bone, we are in the bone marrow, and we want to give the public an opportunity to weigh in on whatever proposals we advance. In the meantime, we will be able to stop the clock," says Gray.
Gray defeated Fenty in last month’s mayoral primary and does not face a Republican challenger in the general election. The freeze goes into effect tomorrow.
Smithonian's Air and Space Museum was the scene of protests on Thursday as part of a national push by fast food workers for higher wages.