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D.C. auditor Kathy Patterson sends warning about Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget

March 29, 2019

D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson delivered a critically important message to the public the other day.

Mrs. Patterson tweeted that Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Proposed FY 2020 budget under review by the @councilofdc is ‘not fiscally responsible,’ with spending increases that outstrip local revenue growth.”

The city’s chief financial officer says revenue may grow by 4 percent next fiscal year. But the Bowser budget calls for an 8 percent hike in spending in 2020, the auditor pointed out.

Some of the budget’s questionable expenditures include $122 million to build the so-called K Street Transitway, which would provide bus-only lanes in the middle of the street that kisses Georgetown; $56 million in new money for public schools; and $20 million to create 1,000 units of “workforce housing.”

Transportation, education and housing are issues that face local politicians everywhere, whether they are pleading for funds from constituents in the exburbs, in the suburbs or in the city.

Auditors, financial wizards and other bean counters not only describe the current economic climate but also predict the future climate.

Just like your local weathermen and women, they check their charts, run computer models and even peer into crystal balls to try to discern what’s coming just beyond the horizon.

And like acute weather forecasters, Mrs. Patterson sees storm clouds ahead, because if revenues don’t increase any higher in Miss Bowser’s fiscal 2020 spending proposal, something’s got to go.

So, what’s next? Well, Miss Bowser essentially told Mrs. Patterson to go fly a kite a position that won’t get the auditors much respect during D.C. Council hearings on the Bowser budget.

For starters, the lawmakers could nix the K Street Transitway by not allocating a single red cent.

After all, the mayor already is ripping up the Frederick Douglass Bridge and is considering ripping up the New York Avenue and Florida Avenue corridors.

One of the council’s most important jobs is to keep the executive branch in check by ensuring that it operates efficiently and effectively.

Lawmakers should look to a brighter future by heeding Mrs. Patterson’s forecast. They be responsible and just say no to some of the mayor’s spending plans.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.