Mayor Gray's budget delays D.C. welfare cuts

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Photo - Washington D.C. Mayor, Vinent Gray, speaks at a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center in southeast Washington D.C. Monday, June 2, 2012
Washington D.C. Mayor, Vinent Gray, speaks at a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center in southeast Washington D.C. Monday, June 2, 2012
Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer,Vincent Gray

For D.C. welfare recipients who have been in the program for more than five years, cuts are likely on the way -- but $5.9 million in Mayor Vincent Gray's budget could delay them for a while.

The D.C. Council approved legislation in April 2011 that scheduled a number of changes with the ultimate goal of cutting funding for welfare recipients after five years in the program. A 20 percent cut in benefits took effect that April, but since then the council has repeatedly delayed further reductions, citing concerns about the city's ability to evaluate welfare recipients.

Gray's proposed $5.9 million will prevent a single massive funding cut, instead allowing a 25 percent reduction to take place in October 2013 and another 41.7 percent reduction in October 2014.

In an email to The Washington Examiner, the mayor's spokesman Pedro Ribeiro wrote, "We are not contemplating any additional delays to the reductions."

In March, when the mayor's office delayed another round of welfare cuts, Gray said, "It was not our intent to extend benefits again. ... Frankly, striking that balance, you've got to calibrate as you go along. That's what we have here."

In his budget proposal, Gray directed another $27.9 million to make up for lost federal welfare funds.

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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