District Surplus Expected to Increase

Surplus for fiscal year 2012 could hit $400 million

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    The District of Columbia is expected to announce an increased budget surplus for fiscal year 2012, thanks to a stable local economy, better-than-expected revenue collection, and agency underspending.

    The Washington Post reports that D.C. Mayor Vicent Gray and Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi could announce a budget surplus as high as $400 million Tuesday, up from the $240 million surplus for fiscal year 2011.

    The Post reports that the announcement is likely to set up a battle over how the surplus should be spent. It is believed that Gray will use the savings to build up a two-month cash reserve for emergencies. Others have called for increased spending on social services.

    Councilmember and Finance and Revenue Committee chairman Jack Evans went on record to support the Mayor's expected plan, telling the Post, "Anyone who is calling for more spending, especially for human services and education, has to start showing more returns for how the money is being spent. "

    According to estimates, about $200 million of the surplus comes from additional revenue, including traffic tickets and what Gandhi described in September as a "windfall" from estate taxes. Another $100 million is generated from unspent dedicated fees, which can only be used by the city government for a specific purpose.