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Commentary: D.C.’s budget is growing at a faster pace than economic fundamentals can support

April 02, 2019
  • Yesim Sayin

Relying on short-term revenue fixes to pay for spending increases doesn’t bode well for fair and competitive tax policy. Yet this is one of several troubling aspects of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget proposals now under review by the DC Council. The expenditure projections tell us a lot about the future shape of the District’s fiscal policy — and seem to signal that tax increases could be in the offing in future years.

On March 19, the mayor introduced her fiscal year 2020 budget, along with a four-year financial plan that goes through FY 2023 (which can be found in Chapter 2 of the Executive Summary). Much of the discussion since then has focused on the expenditure side — what was funded and what was shortchanged. The revenue side of the 2020 budget has received some attention, too (see here and here), but the changes to the revenue structure and longer-term expectations baked into the four-year financial plan also require careful examination.

Read more at The DC Line

Author

Yesim Sayin

Executive Director
D.C. Policy Center

Yesim Sayin is the founding Executive Director of the D.C. Policy Center.

With over twenty years of public policy experience in the District of Columbia, Dr. Sayin is recognized by policymakers, advocates and the media as a source of reliable, balanced analyses on the District’s economy and demography.  Yesim’s research interests include economic and fiscal policy, urban economic development, housing, and education. She is especially focused on how COVID-19 pandemic is changing regional and interregional economic interdependencies and what this means for urban policy. Her work is frequently covered in the media, including the Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, WAMU, and the Washington City Paper, among others.

Before joining the D.C. Policy Center, Dr. Sayin worked at the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer leading the team that scored the fiscal impact of all legislation the District considered. She frequently testified on high profile legislation and worked closely with the executive and Council staff to ensure that policymakers fully understand the fiscal implications of their proposed legislation. Yesim also has worked in the private sector, and consulted with international organization on a large portfolio of public finance topics.

Yesim holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University, located in Istanbul, Turkey.