Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Annual Message to the Congress Transmitting the Budget for the District of Columbia, Fiscal Year 1970.

January 16, 1969

To the Congress of the United States:

I am transmitting the budget of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1969.

In reviewing the recent past and the immediate future of the Nation's Capital, Congress can take great pride, as I do, in the achievements of this city and its people.

A historic beginning has been made toward self-government for the people of the District. For the first time in more than a century, Washington has a Mayor and a City Council. And recently, the people of Washington elected their own school board. This new form of government, made possible by the last Congress, has increased citizen participation in local affairs, and has made City Hall more responsive to the needs of the people.

At City Hall and in the neighborhoods, the City Council is inviting citizens to attend public hearings, to discuss their complaints and needs, to share in public decisions. Not only does all this activity demonstrate an intense commitment to good government; not only is it vital to the success of public programs in the District; it is helping to build a firm basis for our goal of self-government in Washington.

This budget--the second formulated by the Mayor and the City Council under the new government--recommends appropriations of $702 million in 1970--a 16% increase over the estimate for the current year.

Existing sources of revenue, and proposed new taxes--including an increase in the property tax--will provide $445 million of this total. The Federal payment to the District, which I again urge Congress to set at 30% of local tax revenues, would provide an additional $112 million. Federal loans of $92 mil lion will be necessary to finance the city's public works program. The remaining balance of $53 million represents available funds from prior years, and other financing adjustments.

I hope--and I urge--that Congress will continue, next year and in the future, the high level of support which it has provided in previous years for the city. The Federal payment to the city has increased from $30 million in 1963 to $90 million, the authorization for 1969.

That increase in funds, along with new programs and other resources which have become available to the District, has yielded rich dividends in a short time:
• The City has raised the salaries of its most important public servants, teachers and policemen.
• Washington has been chosen for participation in the Model Cities Program, and its plans for neighborhood improvement are well along.
• The new Federal City College and the Washington Technical Institute promise a future of richer educational and economic opportunity to the city's young people.
• The Fort Lincoln project
• a balanced "new town in town"
• is emerging as a model of creative urban development.
• The city has authorized an additional 1,000 positions in the Metropolitan Police force, and new policemen are being recruited.
• Neighborhood Health Centers, new education programs, and new recreation efforts are flourishing in the city.
Much remains to be done. Washington is still not yet the vibrant and viable city which it can become--and which it must become if the Nation is to have the capital it deserves.

In this budget, the Mayor and the City Council have addressed themselves to the goal of fulfilling the city's enormous potential. They have given needed emphasis to the most basic problems of the city.

The budget, if it is approved, will bring great improvement and strength to:
• Public schools and higher education;
• Crime prevention programs, including the courts, correctional institutions, and the Police Department;
• Economic development and community improvement programs;
• Health care and other social services;
• Municipal services at the local level, through Neighborhood Service Centers; and
• Educational, recreational, and job opportunities for the young people of the city.
Finally, this budget provides for the District's contribution to the building of a regional rapid rail transit system. The transit funds include $18.7 million to be requested in a 1969 supplemental and $22.9 million for 1970. Prompt action by the Congress on the supplemental funds will permit ground breaking within 75 days from the time of approval.

I urge that in acting on these and other proposals, Congress consider the high aspirations of the citizens of our city.

Solutions to the problems of our Nation's First City will require an increasing level of public support in the years ahead. I am confident that we have established a strong foundation of local government for the city. The dedication, hard work, and judicious actions of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and City Council clearly demonstrate that the District of Columbia is no longer an ignored stepchild of the Federal Government.

We can express our support and understanding of the District Government by continuing to invest heavily in its future. The dividends promise to be bountiful. They will be reflected in the well-being of the hundreds of thousands of people who live here, and in the increased stature of our Capital City which should be a source of pride to all Americans.

The specific requests in the 1970 budget are set forth in the transmittal message pf the Mayor. The proposals are reasonable. responsive, and realistic. I recommend that the Congress approve the District of Columbia budget for 1970.

January 16, 1969

Lyndon B. Johnson, Annual Message to the Congress Transmitting the Budget for the District of Columbia, Fiscal Year 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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