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D.C. Finance Chief Puts Damper On Brown's Budget

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In order to balance D.C.'s budget without raising taxes or making deep cuts to services, Council Chairman Kwame Brown proposed a plan that seemed to please everyone on the council. He wants to use the expected uptick in revenue that's been predicted for later this summer, a figure that's been pegged at anywhere from $20 to $90 million.

But the revised estimate arrives after D.C. signs off on its budget, so the chairman has been drawing up plans on how to spend the new money.

Now the city's' Chief Financial Officer, Natwar Gandhi is throwing some cold water on the idea. He says while the maneuver is legal, it may not be the best idea to budget with money that may or may not be there.

Gandhi, in a letter to council members, says the economic outlook remains uncertain and recommends waiting until the September estimates come in and give everyone a clearer picture of what's in the city's coffers.

He cites a slowing economic picture nationally, pointing out that while there was robust growth in the last half of 2010, "real GDP growth slowed to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011."

Rather than doling out the theoretical revenue now, Gandhi says that the Council could go back to Congress in September to amend its budget once the final totals are in.

The council does not have a lot of time to consider the suggestion; the first vote on Brown's budget plan is scheduled for later today.

D.C. CFO Letter To City Officials On Proposed FY2012 Budget
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