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Overview of Budget Formulation Process

The District's operating and capital budgets identify the programs that are to be funded in the fiscal year and the revenue that will support these programs. Additionally, the budget document provides a five-year financial plan, which shows the long-term impact of current spending and is a critical tool in ensuring the fiscal health of the District. Both the operating and capital budgets provide stakeholders with information on the operations of the District's over 100 agencies.

The operating budget funds the District's daily operations. This budget supports eight categories of governmental services including public education, human support services, and public safety. Revenues to support the services provided by the operating budget come from a variety of sources, such as taxes, fees and charges, and federal revenues.

The capital budget provides information on the District's infrastructure, fixed assets and other capital needs. Through the capital budget's six-year Capital Improvements Plan, the District constructs or repairs facilities such as school buildings, bridges, roads, and swimming pools. General obligation bonds (or income tax revenue bonds) and federal grants primarily finance capital projects.

The Mayor develops and submits the proposed budget and financial plan for the next fiscal year to the Council of the District of Columbia in March. The Council holds public hearings and accepts the Mayor's budget or adopts its own version. The Mayor may sign or veto the Council's budget. If the Mayor vetoes the budget, the Council may override the veto. Once agreement is reached between the Mayor and the Council, the budget is adopted and transmitted to the President of the United States for submission to Congress for approval. Congress must approve the District's budget as part of one of the 12 annual federal appropriations bills.