New Financial Report Shows that Even After a Difficult Year, DC’s Finances Remain Strong
(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt, and Inspector General for the District of Columbia Daniel W. Lucas released the Fiscal Year 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The 2020 CAFR marks the District’s 24th consecutive clean audit opinion and the sixth consecutive year of the audit finding no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies.
“This time last year, we celebrated that for the first time in history, the District had a 60-day cash reserve and that our economy was stronger than ever. We know now just how important those reserves would become in the following weeks and months, as we worked to respond to a global pandemic and the economic crisis it caused,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our strong financial position allowed us to make critical public health investments, including the setup of a free public testing system that is second to none. It has allowed us to make needed investments in our residents through meal distribution, rental assistance, and more. And we have been able to launch innovative grant and direct support programs for our businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. As we continue through our response and recovery and stay focused on an equitable distribution of the vaccine, we will continue to be strong stewards of taxpayer dollars so that as we can make a comeback that gives all Washingtonians a fair shot.”
“The better than expected financial results for FY 2020 demonstrate the resiliency of the District's diverse economy as well as the results of continued fiscal actions to contain expenses within available resources. The results will provide options to address revenue challenges in the FY 2021 through FY 2024 budget and financial plan necessary to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Chief Financial Officer DeWitt.
Highlights of the FY 2020 CAFR include:
- for the second consecutive year, the District has 60 days of operating reserves;
- pension and retiree health care trust funds remain fully funded;
- for the sixth consecutive year, the audit found no material weakness or significant deficiencies; and
- the District continues to have a strong Aaa bond rating.
The District continues to face several financial pressures resulting from the effect of the pandemic, including continuing support for the unemployment fund and rental assistance programs, overcoming learning loss, and increasing needed workforce investments to create jobs in preparation for a “new normal” economy.
The DC Council will hold a hearing on the FY 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on Wednesday, February 3 at 1:30 pm.