City of Seattle, WA

08/13/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/12/2020 22:06

Re-Balancing Seattle’s 2020 Budget to Address the COVID-related Deficits

AUGUST 12, 2020 UPDATE:

SUPPORTING MAYOR'S VETO AND RESPONSIBLE COVID RELIEF: Today, our City Council responded not only to our Mayor's veto of Council Bill 119812 but also to new information about a slower economic recovery and a larger budget deficit than expected. Our forecast of revenues dropped substantially since we unanimously passed our original COVID relief package (CB 119812). I am strongly in favor of a compassionate response to the public health and economic crisis, which is why I voted in favor of the original relief package and other COVID relief measures. At the same time, our budget deficit has grown.

To provide our City Council and our Mayor with a few additional days to collaborate and craft a concrete compromise that provides additional COVID relief to Seattle - while balancing our budget - I voted to sustain (support) the Mayor's veto. It was a difficult decision because I voted in favor of the original bill, but we have disturbing new economic data and I do not think it's prudent to nearly deplete our cash reserves until we understand the fiscal challenges we are facing. Our revenues - from all sources - are on a downward trend and we do not know the bottom yet. Councilmember Andrew Lewis joined me in this fiscally responsible approach, while six other Councilmembers voted to override the Mayor's veto. Fortunately, a handful of Councilmembers had also prepared a major amendment (CB 119860) to reduce the original $86 million relief package to $57 million, thereby covering a key amount of the new deficit. While I would have preferred the Council and the Mayor to reach a firmer accord, this was a step in the right direction to get additional COVID relief to those in need while making a dent in the additional budget deficit. I appreciate the leadership of both the legislative and executive branches of our city government for their good intentions and for acting in good faith for Seattle with both urgency and care in this situation. Larger discussions are required to deal with our city's deficit for 2021 and I look forward to leveraging my budgeting experience to make sure we adopt an effective and balanced budget for Seattle.

SPD REDUCTIONS: For budget re-balancing actions for 2020 impacting the Seattle Police Department (SPD), CLICK HERE.

PAYROLL TAX: For concerns about the JumpStart Payroll Tax adopted by a majority of the Seattle City Council, CLICK HERE.