Press release from Councilmember Charles Allen following the Council's final vote on the budget, which included shifting millions of excess tax revenue from Events DC to fund public housing repairs. Release:
During today’s final vote by the DC Council on the FY20 Budget Support Act, the Council committed $23.5 million to fund urgently needed repairs to affordable housing units in public housing complexes using excess revenue from Events DC. Last week, the District’s Chief Financial Officer reported Events DC had made an accounting error in the past two years and did not return excess revenue from a dedicated tax once it had met all of its requirements to bondholders who helped fund the city’s convention center.
Following several days of debate, the Council and CFO agreed the Council had the legal right to determine where the excess tax revenue would be spent.
“Today was a win for 400 families and seniors living in public homes in disrepair. We can’t have a millions of excess tax dollars sitting idly while some of our neighbors live with mold, pests, and disrepair in public housing. I want to especially thank Chairman Mendelson for his work and dedication to getting this right with the CFO,” said Councilmember Allen. “This was a clear example of the Council’s oversight leading to important change. But in no way does this solve a much more serious long-term challenge: how do communities like ours come up with hundreds of millions of dollars for repairs when the federal government walks away from funding its own housing programs?”
DC Housing Authority Executive Director Tyrone Garrett has estimated as many as one-third of the District’s total public housing units were in such bad repair they were at-risk of being declared uninhabitable. In the budget submitted to Congress, President Trump proposed a $9.7 billion cut to public housing, which could mean up to a 15% budget cut for DC Housing Authority. The District’s Public Housing provides a substantial amount of deeply affordable homes for low-income District residents – nearly 8,000 units in total.
Events DC receives nearly 70 percent of its annual budget from dedicated portions of both the hotel and restaurant taxes.