As a child growing up in DC I went to DC libraries and DC recreation centers after school on weekends to learn and play. I loved them both. Over the years the facilities have changed but their funding source has stayed the same: the citizens of the District of Columbia. These facilities serve the people of the District and are paid for by the people of the District serving no federal role, yet on October 1st, 2013 the Speaker of the House could close these facilities and other vital District government services. Local property, sales, and income taxes pay for the running of libraries and recreation centers similar to all states, yet come October 1, Congress will tell us we can’t spend our own money on these services.
The District’s entire municipal budget (75% of which is raised locally) gets final approval as a part of the federal budget process. As such, on October 1st, 2013 should Congress not approve the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2014, the District will not be able to spend its own money to keep government services open. If Congress does not pass a budget thousands of youth could be denied a safe place to learn or play after school because Congress will lock the doors on those facilities.
Over the next week we in the District need to raise our voices to Congress and our neighbors around the country and ask them to raise their voices on our behalf. Congress should pass a clean budget and stop hold the citizens of the District hostage in their game of political posturing. Through email, Twitter, or Facebook District citizens should document a significant public service (libraries, recreation centers, trash pick-up, infrastructure work, etc.) and take a photo of it and share it with others. Tell your story about why our public services should not be controlled or closed by Congress.
DC libraries and recreation centers served me well as a child and I see no reason why Speaker Boehner should have the ability to shut them down simply because he can’t do his job.