Jack Evans Report

June 7, 2017

The completion of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s SafeTrack rebuilding program is approaching. WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has announced the next steps to fix our regional transit system. […]

Jack Evans Report

May 24, 2017

The D.C. Council is moving ahead with its review of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed budget and financial plan. I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to secure several important […]

Jack Evans Report

May 3, 2017

Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority GM Paul Wiedefeld put forth a plan recently to adequately fund Metro — so that he can fulfill the expectations that the region has put […]

Jack Evans Report

April 13, 2017

Last week, Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled her proposed budget and financial plan for the coming fiscal year. The action now shifts to the District Council, where the budget — likely […]

A Big Weekend, Well-Handled

March 2, 2017

This past weekend, Washington, D.C., hosted both the 58th Presidential Inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. With hundreds of thousands of attendees at the two events, I want to thank the thousands […]

Getting Back to the City’s Business

January 12, 2017

The D.C. Council is back in session and ready to get to work. Council Period 22 officially began Jan. 2, after I and five of my colleagues were sworn in […]

Eight More Hours To Fix Metro?

December 7, 2016

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors is poised to vote next week on the general manager’s proposal to reduce the number of hours the Metrorail system operates. […]

Funding Metro: More Important Than Ever

November 9, 2016

Last week, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager Paul Wiedefeld released his operating budget proposal to WMATA’s board of directors and the public. As expected, it seeks to close […]

Jack Evans Report

November 8, 2016


-This week the Council concluded the first, and most important, steps of approving a fiscal year 2011 budget, which will begin Oct. 1. I voted against the final plan as I believe we are relying on what are essentially a few too many “one time fixes” to balance our budget. I believe in some respects we have pushed the hard decisions to next year rather than take the more difficult, yet more thoughtful, route of rethinking the District government to realign our service needs with our actual resources. Underneath our considerations this year, I believe, is a fundamental structural problem which we have left unaddressed.

We have to live within our means. The District government does not have a printing press for money, and I think we ignore the very real downturn in our revenue — particularly in commercial property taxes — at our peril. So that leaves us with really only one choice — getting serious about reinventing government, reevaluating the efficiency and scope of the services we provide, and realigning the size of our government to be more in line with our actual resources.

What we have done instead is this — we are continuing to spend down our accumulated fund balances (savings account). As recently as Jan. 1, 2007, these fund balances stood at nearly $1.54 billion, and at the beginning of the current fiscal year last Oct. 1, they stood at $902 million. For a year or two it might make sense to spend some money from these accounts — tough times happen — and we’ve benefited immeasurably from federal stimulus funds as well. But now we’re going on spending down these balances for a third and fourth year. Hard decisions delayed, indeed.

Our revenue streams have not turned around and are unlikely to do so for some time. In fact, I believe it will take a few years for a full recovery. As part of his budget the Mayor proposed a number of revenue increases, chiefly fees for various services, and the Council adopted a number of those as well as imposed a new tax to pay for a brand new program. And there certainly were any number of Members and advocates calling for even more taxes in a number of areas. But the fundamental problem with that approach is this — unless you restrain the growth of the government it will continue to grow by another $2-300 million a year in baseline measures and annual spending pressures. I have seen this nearly every year I have served in the Council.

So the question then becomes — whose taxes do you raise the year after that, and then the year after that? What happens is you create a vicious cycle, much like that we had in the 80’s and 90’s, where you utterly discourage people from moving in to DC and you inspire current residents and businesses to flee. Over the past few decades the District lost hundreds of thousands of residents and the surrounding jurisdictions have shown that our region is indeed a desirable one. It’s only in the past decade we’ve begun to turn that around — by lowering certain taxes, by attracting new residents, by improving city services, and by making DC an attractive place to live and work again.

I refuse to be a part of turning our backs on that kind of progress and reversing the gains we have made. I refuse to be a part of playing “gotcha” with our residents and businesses and hiking up the cost of everything once people are here. We ought not to treat our residents and businesses as wallets simply to be picked at random. I advocate for the more challenging task of re-engineering our government to make efficiencies happen and deliver the same or greater services with the resources we already have.

‘Yes’ to Statehood on Nov. 8

October 27, 2016

We took another step forward in our fight for statehood last week, with the D.C. Council approving a constitution to go before the voters Nov. 8. While this Council-passed constitution […]