Gray: Reserves dwindling, services at risk

WASHINGTON – Mayor Vincent Gray is speaking out about the effects a prolonged shutdown could have on the District.

In a speech at Friendship Public Charter School Thursday evening, Gray was expected to say the District’s own money is caught up in a fight where they have no voting voice, according to a copy of his prepared speech obtained by WTOP.

The District has been using reserve funds to keep services running. But that source of funding will soon run out putting services like Medicaid payments, garbage collection and charter school funding in jeopardy.

One $90 million Medicaid payment has already been delayed because of the shutdown, according to the mayor.

In his statement, Gray said suggestions to spend local tax dollars anyway would violate federal laws and expose D.C. employees to criminal prosecution. He asked District residents to call the White House and Congress to demand the city be allowed to spend it’s own money.

Wednesday, Gray spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that the city be allowed to spend its own tax revenue during the shutdown, which has now lingered for 10 days.

During the lengthy shutdown in 1995 and 1996, the District was allowed to resume spending local tax dollars after just five days, according to the text of the mayor’s speech.

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