Dear Citizens of the District of Columbia,
It has been seven years since the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) was created and the District began to restructure its finances. In that time, the city has made a great deal of progress. The District moved from an end-of-year operating cash deficit in FY 1996 of $201 million to a positive $538 million in FY 2000 - a turnaround of $739 million. Over the same period, total local source tax collections increased by 28 percent, partly due to a vibrant economy, but also in substantial measure because of rejuvenated tax administration. Also over the same period, government local source expenditures actually declined from $3.4 billion to $3.1 billion.
In October 2001, these successes led to the return of home rule for the District of Columbia. The city's elected leaders are now solely responsible for the administration of the District, and they will look to the OCFO to be the guardian of the city's financial viability. I am committed to working with our elected leaders to develop sound budgets, give top notch economic analysis, and alert them early and often if we discover spending pressures so that we can work together to overcome any financial challenges.
As custodian of the District's financial resources, I take seriously the responsibility of protecting the revenues generated by our city's residents and the business community. It is the goal of my team to improve the District's financial processes and become a role model to other jurisdictions nationwide. The citizens of our city deserve no less than that.
I am grateful and proud of this opportunity presented to me by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the Council of the District of Columbia. I look forward to working with all of you to build on our successes and ensure the financial viability of our nation's capital.
Natwar M. Gandhi
Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia