Washington, D.C. residents will go to the polls next week for a special election. In addition to electing a new at-large member for the D.C. Council, voters will cast their ballots on a series of referenda. Chief among them is Referendum 8, which would grant the District budget autonomy.
Unlike the rest of the United States, the District of Columbia does not have full control over its own budget. Simple services such as trash collection are often held up by Congress, subjecting the District’s budget to partisan politics and budget delays at the federal level.
On April 23rd, D.C. residents will have a chance to liberate the District’s budget from Congressional oversight. If Referendum 8 passes, and assuming Congress does not override the vote (which Congress does have the power to do), the District would be one step closer to autonomy.
President Obama expressed support for D.C. budget autonomy. The Union for Reform Judaism also endorsed a letter from D.C. vote calling on the District to vote on Referendum 8, and backs budget autonomy for the District itself.
While budget autonomy is a major steppingstone, it does not provide D.C. residents with voting representation in Congress.
If you live in the District, cast your ballot next week! And if you don’t, let your friends who do know about this important referendum!
Image courtesy of D.C. Budget Freedom Committee