District Digest: Budgeting and rebuilding around the District

Capitol BuildingCapitol Dome to be under construction for the next two years

As part of a restoration project overseen by the Architect of the Capitol, the dome will be covered in scaffolding as it is repaired, reports the Washington Post.

According to the architect’s office, the dome has more than 1,000 cracks and “other problems it has gathered over time. The last time it had been fully repaired was in 1960.

“This is to preserve it so we can have it for another 150 years,” said Justin Kieffer, a spokesman for the architect.

The dome will soon join the Washington Monument, which was damaged during the 2011 earthquake, in being obscured by scaffolding. Workers and visitors will still be able to access the building during the restoration.

The District lost millions during the shutdown

Though the District has been able to recover the $144 million it spent from its rainy day fund during the shutdown, the city won’t be able to recover the funds lost in revenue and taxes.

As former Vox editor Will Sommer reports at the Washington City Paper, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins says the city lost $400 million in economic activity and $6 million in tax revenue for each week of the shutdown.

Mayor Vincent Gray does not plan to ask the Federal Government to reimburse the money the district spent on cleaning up trash in federal parks, which could add up to $100,000.

On a similar note: D.C.’s budget autonomy bill stuck in Congress

Though the recent shutdown may have moved more of the public in favor of budget autonomy from Congress, Mayor Vincent Gray believes opinions in Congress have not changed much, reports the Washington Post.

A budget bill is currently being held up in Congress due to national politics. The last budget autonomy bill in 2011 was so fraught with riders, such as a ban on the use of tax revenue for abortions, that D.C. leaders withdrew support.

District voters have also approved a charter amendment to promise the city budget autonomy, but Gray and his attorney general are unsure what will happen and whether it is legal.

For now, Congress has given the District full approval for its 2014 budget, giving it the ability to spend its locally raised funds through Sept. 30.

Photo: Angela via Flickr. 

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