WAMU 88.5 : News

Commentary By Ash Kosiewicz: It's Time For A Courageous Budget

Play associated audio

This is my story of hope for D.C. It doesn't start with hope though. It starts with tragedy, but it ends with hope.

When I see the cuts in Mayor Vincent Gray's budget, I realize the tragedy is bigger than the story of cuts to any one program. With its severe cuts to Health and Human Services and small business support, the mayor's budget does not reflect the shared priorities of a lot of people in this city. They're definitely not my priorities.

So what's my story about? Picture this: Small, local businesses line streets in a community with mixed-income housing within walking distance. Business owners know their customers as neighbors, their employees live nearby, and residents and small businesses recognize their mutual stake in strengthening the community's quality of life. People work hard and live in decent, affordable housing –- the type of community that celebrates what we have in common and the connection between thriving small businesses and stable housing.

But here's what's standing in the way: If the D.C. Council doesn't restore $1.7 million in cuts to small business technical assistance, hundreds of small business owners who create jobs and revenue for the city lose out. This revenue could support Health and Human Services, including programs that preserve affordable housing for D.C.'s most vulnerable residents. The mayor's budget already cuts $18 million from the local Housing Production Trust Fund -- a key funding source to help D.C. residents tackle the city's growing affordable housing crisis.

And that's not even all of it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in microloans no longer find their way into D.C.'s economy, not to mention the money that small businesses put back into it when they locally source their goods and products.

It's time for a courageous budget that recognizes how all the pieces can fit together to strengthen, not weaken, what is around us; support progressive tax revenue, and support the restoration of funding to programs that foster thriving small businesses and promote stable housing in the District.

If we build our story of hope together, in the process, we can start to really understand what's at risk. It's not this program or that program -- it's our community.

NPR

Writer James Alan McPherson, Winner Of Pulitzer, MacArthur And Guggenheim, Dies At 72

McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has died at 72. His work explored the intersection of white and black lives with deftness, subtlety and wry humor.
NPR

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Presidents And Food?

It's week two of the party conventions, and all these speeches are making us hungry. So we made a quiz to test your savvy about presidents and our favorite topic, food.
WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Ronald Reagan's Shooter, Freddie Gray Verdicts And More

Have opinions about the Democratic National Convention, or the verdicts from the Freddie Gray cases? It's your turn to talk.

NPR

Police Use Fingertip Replicas To Unlock A Murder Victim's Phone

Michigan State University engineers tried 3-D-printed fingertips and special conductive replicas of the victim's fingerprints to crack the biometric lock on his Samsung Galaxy phone.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.