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Learn about Washington, DC Investor Relations, including Featured News and The Team.
This is the official investor relations page for the District of Columbia ("the District"). The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) handles all of the District's debt financing needs, including its communication with bond investors.
The District was created in 1791 by an act of the United States Congress and Presidential proclamation and has served as the capital of the United States since 1800. Since January 1975, the District has been governed under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which gave residents more autonomy over local affairs. Under the Home Rule Act, the District is governed by an elected Mayor and an elected Council.
The executive and legislative powers and duties of the District government are comparable to those held by states, counties and cities throughout the United States. However, Congress reviews all legislation passed by the Council before it can become law and retains authority over the District's budget. With the exception of the payment of debt service on District debt, the District may not obligate or expend funds absent annual Congressional appropriation.
The District is a unique governmental entity, combining state, county, and municipal characteristics. Functions performed by the District government include public safety, police, fire, corrections, consumer and business regulatory affairs, public works (highways, streets and traffic control and sanitation), human services (health, welfare and employment assistance), leisure services (recreation and libraries), economic development (planning, zoning, urban renewal and housing), public education and general administration. The District and its instrumentalities also operate a university, a hospital, a stadium and armory complex, a convention center, a housing finance agency and a lottery.
Questions have been raised about the District’s recently submitted FY2020 budget and financial plan and concerns have been voiced that the budget is not responsible and could result in the return of the Control Board.
As the independent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the District, I am required by federal law to certify that the budgets submitted by the Mayor to the Council, and ultimately to Congress, are balanced. In my March 20, 2019 letter, included in the proposed budget, I state, “that the FY2020 - FY2023 budget and financial plan is balanced.” I stand firmly by that statement.
With the federal government still eyeing another possible shutdown, it wouldn’t have seemed like a good time for the nation’s capital city to borrow nearly $1 billion in the bond market.
But if there was any concern among investors when the securities were offered early Wednesday, it didn’t register in the prices, despite how dependent its economy is on government spending.
When the District of Columbia sold almost $950 million in bonds, the difference between the yields it paid and top rated debt -- a key measure of risk -- were virtually unchanged from when it sold securities in July. Underwriter Bank of America Corp. set the yields on 10-year bonds at 2.35 percent, or 0.13 percentage point over AAA rated securities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In this summer’s sale, that gap was 0.14 percentage point.
The warm bond-market reception illustrates how much Washington’s finances have steadied since the 1990s, when Congress put a control board in place to balance its budgets. Its fortunes have since turned around significantly, thanks to increases in government spending, rising real estate values and an influx of residents. S&P Global Ratings, which gives its bonds the second-highest grade, says the city’s "economic and financial strength is at an all-time high."
Although the prospect of another partial government closure appears to have dwindled, with President Donald Trump saying Wednesday he doesn’t "want to see a shutdown," the bonds were marketed ahead of his comments.
On January 22, 2019, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer released a report estimating the impact of the federal government shutdown on the District of Columbia's revenues.