When it comes to D.C.’s budget forecast, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news is that, according to Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt at a news conference Wednesday, D.C. should have around $222 million more in revenue than expected for 2020.
The bad news is that the District doesn’t expect its economy to start recovering until 2022, after there’s a coronavirus vaccine for the public — which they hope happens in late 2021 — and they’re dropping revenue estimates significantly through 2024.
“The recovery is taking a bit longer than we had assumed back in April, when we were guessing,” DeWitt said. “Based on the reality of what we now know about vaccine delivery, about where the virus is, about the actions we’ve had to take to keep the community safe and keep the economy going as best as possible … you’re looking at maybe a year later on conventions, you’re looking at six months later, for the reopening of restaurants and hotels and our assumptions.”
“And those could change. It could even be longer.”
DeWitt said 2021 is going to be about recovery.
“And when I say start the recovery, meaning we can all get back together and we can start healing the impacts that have happened to businesses that have been shut down that provide taxes to the economy,” DeWitt said.
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D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the District’s financial situation “sobering.”
“But it is one that, because of our financial management over the last decade or two … we’re in a better position to weather what’s happening,” Mendelson said.
“But nonetheless, this is not a pretty picture.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser voiced concern over what she called “emergent needs” that could develop.
“And that is part of what I’m charging my team to think about as we go into 2021,” she said. “Do we need to focus on more emergent needs and spending to address COVID and to stimulate our way out of COVID? And so that is part of our discussion.”
DC coronavirus numbers
The District reported 26 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, for a total of 15,326.
D.C. reported one more death, bringing the total numbers of lives lost to 627.
Below are maps of cases by ward and neighborhood.