There are unquestionable and discernible signs, in my view, that DC’s political season has already begun — although the next election isn’t until 2022. Consider, as evidence, the fact that many politicians and wannabes have been engaged in either unabashed genuflecting before special-interest groups, dizzying levels of political posturing, or nauseating amounts of pontificating around racial, economic and social justice equity.
A few examples of recent policy proposals caught my attention: One DC Council member has proposed guaranteed income for poor residents. Another legislator has suggested increasing per pupil spending for the city’s public schools, again. Still another is pushing a tax rate increase for households with an income of $250,000 or more.
Those suggestions have come in recent weeks as Mayor Muriel Bowser prepares to file her proposed fiscal year 2022 budget and financial plan with the legislature. Initially, the document was to be submitted this month; however, she requested and received an extension until April 22 from the DC Council.
Bowser wanted to wait until after Congress approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which includes $350 billion for state and local government. The District is expected to receive more than $2.2 billion; that is about 16.9% of the city’s local budget of $13 billion.
The mayor may have thought the delay might shorten the list of wild, lavish and fanciful spending proposals from legislators and advocates. The pending COVID-19 rescue money appears to have had the opposite effect.
It’s election season.