In recent years, the District has cut millions of dollars from its budget for critical services to the low-income community, such as homeless services, affordable housing, childcare services, adult education, mental health services, domestic violence resources, public libraries, and civil legal assistance. The District faces a Fiscal Year 2011 budget shortfall of at least $175 million, which potentially places the social safety net, and the people it serves, at even greater risk.
Legal Aid has joined over sixty other District organizations to endorse “Better Choices,” an initiative led by the Fair Budget Coalition, SOS (Save Our Safety Net), the Metro Labor Council, and Jobs with Justice to urge the District government to take a balanced approach to coping with the budget crisis. Increasing revenue through progressive tax policy is an essential component of such an approach. Doing so will ensure that the burden of the budget crisis no longer falls disproportionately on the District’s low-income residents, but rather, is shared across the economic spectrum.