Policy & Economic Research

The Office of the Budget Director conducts policy and economic research for the D.C. Council. It produces issue briefs on matters of ongoing concern and releases in-depth reports on substantial policy and legislative matters.

 

This policy brief examines nine strategies that the D.C. Council could take to reduce the financial strain that the CRIAC has placed on ratepayers while ensuring that the federally-mandated combined sewer overflow (CSO) mitigation project is adequately funded.

  1. Protect financially vulnerable utility customers by extending the CRIAC Residential & Nonprofit Relief Programs

  2. Alter the CRIAC rate structure to include a water and sewer volumetric component

  3. Increase progressivity by subjecting public rights-of-way to the CRIAC

  4. Promote green solutions by raising the value of CRIAC Incentive Program

  5. Lower customers’ costs by reducing or eliminating D.C. government’s pass-through fees from D.C. Water’s monthly bills

  6. Ensure that the Blue Plains Intermunicipal Agreement requires all jurisdictions pay their fair share

  7. Lobby Congress for regular and significant support from the federal government to solve a problem that it helped create

  8. Improve accountability by re-examining D.C. Water’s governance structure

  9. Reduce ratepayer costs by re-negotiating the Consent Decree

 

Economic and Policy Impact Statements

District of Columbia Council Rule 308 provides that the Council Budget Director may, at his or her discretion, prepare an economic impact analysis on permanent bills beginning January 1, 2016. The Office of the Budget Director is implementing this rule by preparing analyses on permanent pieces of legislation that are expected to have a fiscal impact of at least 0.1 percent of the District’s gross domestic product (GDP), or $123 million, and as staffing resources permit. The purpose of these statements is to offer Councilmembers an independent, data- and evidence-based resource for weighing the policy implications and economic costs and benefits of major pieces of legislation. These statements do not make policy recommendations, and their findings and conclusions are non-binding.

The economic and policy impact statement is not a substitute for the Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) fiscal impact statements, which apply to every piece of legislation and address the impact of legislation on the District’s budget and four-year financial plan.

 The Office of the Budget Director has issued the following economic and policy impact statements:

 
Family Leave Benefits, Wage Replacement Rate

Family Leave Benefits, Wage Replacement Rate

Universal Paid Leave

The Office of the Budget Director issued its first economic and policy impact statement on the “Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016” on December 1, 2016. It offers the Council of the District of Columbia an evidence-based resource for weighing a piece of legislation’s policy implications and economic costs and benefits. It is divided into four sections:

  1. A review of paid leave programs’ impacts on labor markets, the business climate, and health, based on empirical evidence from more than 170 peer-reviewed studies.

  2. A detailed benchmarking analysis of paid leave programs in other states.

  3. An assessment of District-based employees’ current access to paid and unpaid leave.

  4. An economic analysis of the legislation’s projected impact on the DC economy using REMI, a widely used economic forecasting model.

 
Susana Groves (second from left), Future Tense Panel, 2018

Susana Groves (second from left), Future Tense Panel, 2018

Approaches and Strategies for Providing a Minimum Income in the District of Columbia

This report offers the Council an evidence-based resource for weighing this proposal’s policy implications and economic costs and benefits.  The study is divided into three sections:

  1. An analysis of D.C.’s cost of living versus the social safety net benefits available to low-income households.

  2. A discussion of three methods for providing a minimum income: a negative income tax, a guaranteed minimum income, or a universal basic income.

  3. An economic analysis of a minimum income program’s impact on the D.C. economy using REMI, a widely used economic forecasting model.