Washington D.C. ends fiscal 2012 with surplus, large reserves

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:52pm EST

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WASHINGTON Jan 29 (Reuters) - Washington D.C. ended its fiscal year in October with a $417 million surplus, which pushed the city's "rainy day fund" to $1.5 billion, its highest level in seven years.

Mayor Vincent Gray said in a statement the extra dollars will help "make important and significant new investments in social programs that we have long wanted to make, but for which we did not previously have the funds."

But he added that the district should also save some of the extra funds.

According to the mayor's office, the surplus came partly from $277 million in increased revenue, $50 million in underspending and a $90 million from other areas. Total tax revenue for the fiscal year had been estimated at $5.6 billion.

While the nation's capital fared better than many other cities during the 2007-09 recession, it remains particularly vulnerable to federal budget decisions. A city without a state, it relies more on the federal government for direct funding and many of its residents work for U.S. agencies.

Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi has pressed for the city to keep a large reserve during the "fiscal cliff" emergency in December and in preparation for the automatic federal spending cuts set to begin on March 1.

"Our Fund Balance is in excellent shape, we are experiencing growth in both jobs and population and we are getting the best possible interest rates on our bonds," he said in a statement in advance of the annual financial report's release on Tuesday.

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