District Has $240 Million Budget Surplus - NBC4 Washington
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District Has $240 Million Budget Surplus

Annual budget report expected Monday morning



    After several difficult years financially, the District of Columbia recorded a very big budget surplus, News4's Tom Sherwood reports.

    The city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), was presented Monday morning.  The good news for the District -- the budget is in the black by a healthy $240 million margin.  That's a big leap in the right direction -- in last year's CAFR, the city reported a $58 million surplus.

    Gray said this is part of a $400 million "turnaround" of budget shortfalls to a surplus. 

    "I'm proud that, despite a very challenging economic climate and difficult budgetary choices we were forced to make, the District government saved well, spent wisely and put ourselves in excellent shape for the future," Gray said.

    Last year, some city agencies spent less then their allotted budgets, sources told Sherwood, which could in part explain this year's budget bump.  The improving local economy, helped in large part by federal-government related employment, also explain this year's positive balance.

    Natwar M. Gandhi, chief financial officer for the District, noted that the city's close relationship to the federal government could expose it to future financial difficulties.  Federal cutbacks could have a significant effect on income and sales tax revenue.

    Despite this risk, Jack Evans, chairman of the finance and revenue committee, said the city "is strong financially" and said he "wouldn't trade places" with any other local government in terms of healthy finances.

    A delegation of District leaders heads to meet with Wall Street financiers on Thursday.  Ghandi said that Monday's report gives them a strong record of the city's economic stability.

    "In these very uncertain times," Ghandi said, "this record of fiscal responsibility should be very reassuring to the city's residents, businesses, and Wall Street."