The Think Twice Before You Slice Campaign is Up and Running

Think Twice Before You SliceThe Center for Nonprofit Advancement and the Nonprofit Roundtable are joining again for "Think Twice Before You Slice," a regional joint advocacy campaign for the 2012 fiscal year budget cycles in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.

Last year, the Think Twice Campaign and the work of nonprofit leaders led to restoration of more than $7.5 million in proposed cuts in the District and in Maryland, and the preservation of more than $23 million across Northern Virginia. We accomplished this by raising an unprecedented level of public awareness about the real issues facing nonprofits and the essential role they play in our region.

As we prepare for this year's budget discussions, our joint approach will build on past success, mobilizing nonprofit leaders from across the region to protect local government funding for critical services and programs.

We're pleased to welcome Melissa Bondi as our Think Twice Campaign Director.  Melissa is well-known to some of you, having worked on budget advocacy and nonprofit policy across the region for a number of years.

Already the campaign is underway - with emergency budget actions in both DC and Montgomery County happening this month, and the need for public input throughout the region. Every locality is facing fiscal challenges for the third straight year and current deliberations are a preview for upcoming FY12 discussions, including the impacts of cumulative cuts on nonprofits.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

According to remarks by Council Chairman and Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray, since May 2008 DC has lost $931.5 million in revenues.  In FY11, a $188 million revenue gap must be resolved in December. FY12 forecasts estimate a $345 million gap.

More daunting, for the first time in four years, the FY12 gap must be closed with existing funds only - no reserves are available to help address critical needs.

The Council chairman acknowledged that larger solutions will be needed- no options are 'off the table'.

What does this mean for nonprofits? Mayor Adrian Fenty provided his gap-closing proposal for FY11 prior to a November 30 public hearing. Nonprofit testimony was strong, highlighting the skyrocketing demand for services and ways nonprofits have struggled to absorb cuts in the past.

MARYLAND

In the next few weeks, the Montgomery County Executive and Montgomery County Council are expected to make mid-year, multi-million dollar budget cuts as well as receive Part II of the Office of Legislative Oversight's report "Achieving a Structurally Balanced Budget in Montgomery County."

In January they will receive recommendations on how to restructure government agencies to increase efficiency...all before County Executive Leggett proposes a FY12 budget in March and the County Council approves the FY12 budget in May, reflecting additional reductions of at least $200 million.

The Prince George's County Spending Affordability Committee projects slight increases in local revenues for FY12, but uncertainties regarding how the state will balance its $1.5 billion budget gap leave much up in the air. A recent news article details the Committee's report.

VIRGINIA

While Northern Virginia's jurisdictions have not faced mid-year gaps, the expiration of the federal stimulus, reduced state revenues and continued underperformance in some commercial sectors will impact local budgets across the region. Programs and resources in Northern Virginia have already experienced major reductions, while the need for services increases.

Details on ways to get involved with the campaign across the region coming soon.

The Think Twice Before You Slice Campaign is a regional budget advocacy campaign led by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement and the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington.

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