WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has unveiled her vision for the future of the District as part of an ambitious budget plan, and she joined FOX 5 Friday morning to share details on what it includes, her main priorities and more.
The nearly $20 billion budget proposal focuses on public safety, economic recovery and affordable housing. With $500 million put towards the latter, Mayor Bowser talked about what the initiative looks like on the ground.
"$500 million allows us to add to our already billion-dollar commitment to affordable housing," she says. "We'll add 2,700 more units of affordable housing in the District, adding that to our already committed 36,000 units. We also have a huge commitment to homeownership, especially Black homeownership, and we're going to put together a special fund to make sure that people who have lived here a long time can afford to stay here."
FOX 5 also asked Mayor Bowser about a plan unveiled last month to try and convert vacant office buildings, specifically in the downtown area, into residential units.
"It's a very targeted plan," the mayor says. "We still know that we need to fill some vacant spaces. We have to change some spaces. Older commercial buildings can become housing, and we're targeting a specific area in the central business district where we want to incentivize those property owners to look to residential housing."
FOX 5 DC is partnering with Georgetown University and its Institute of Politics and Public Service to bring you the first D.C. Democratic Mayoral Debate on June 1. Council member Robert White Jr. and council member Trayon White have accepted our invite, so will Mayor Bowser join the debate?
"I'm going to be happy to debate in a lot of places in all four corners of D.C. because what people running for this office have already demonstrated is that they're not for increased funding for police," Mayor Bowser says. "My budget includes the ability to hire 350 new officers. They're not for strong executive leadership of our schools. Our budget puts in historic investments in public education and makes the mayor and the council responsible for how public education is delivered. We also know that some people running for this office are for taxing and increasing taxes for people who earn more than $250,000. What I told the council the other day, because of the careful management of our finances, there is no reason whatsoever to raise taxes on D.C. families."
Watch the interview with Mayor Bowser in full above.