Councilmember Sawant’s Statement Regarding ‘No’ Vote on City Council Budget

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Celebrates Victories of the People’s Budget Movement


Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) released the following statement after voting ‘no’ on the budget passed by the City Council, while also celebrating the victories of the People’s Budget movement and committing to keep fighting to fund high quality permanently affordable social housing:

“Every year, since I first took office in 2014, we have built a people’s budget movement, to fight for progressive changes to Seattle’s business as usual budgets. And every year, our movement wins important victories that make a real material difference in the lives of regular people.

“On November 7, we held an inspiring people’s budget town hall at the Yesler Community Center, and I want to thank the activists and organizations, including labor unions, that made that such a powerful event, and have had the courage to fight back against this austerity budget.

“Our People’s Budget movement won important victories this year, thanks to our collective organizing. It’s important to recognize these victories of social movements, even though they are less than what is needed, because they underscore an essential message. That when we organize, and we fight back, we can win.

“The LGBTQ community did fantastic organizing and won funding for LGBTQ senior services, to backfill the Trans services funding unacceptably cut by the Mayor, and funding for an LGBTQ health and wellness center at Nova.

“The People’s Budget movement’s activism made sure that the residents of the SHARE and WHEEL shelters can continue their shelters open again this year, despite the ongoing attempts of the establishment to shut it down.

“We successfully won the first eviction defense attorney to help Seattle residents facing eviction defend their rights.

“The native community finally won stable funding for the annual indigenous people’s day celebration.

“But while all these victories by our movement were important, on the burning crisis of affordable housing facing working people, the establishment was completely unwilling to match it’s flowery rhetoric with action.

“It was less than 1 percent of the budget she proposed, and it only included funds that legally could go nowhere else. Not one new dollar was proposed for affordable housing by Mayor Durkan.

“Our movement put forward eleven different options to fund building more affordable housing, and made it clear that we would support other ideas too. The majority of the council voted down all of them, while proposing no alternatives.

“We need to be crystal clear. The housing crisis is not caused by a lack of good ideas or creativity. The crisis is caused by a lack of political will to stand up against Amazon and big business. The political establishment has made it clear, working class people are not welcome in Seattle. If you are Amazon, if you are downtown real estate interests, Seattle will give you whatever investment you want, paid for with the ever increasing property and sales taxes on working people.

“We did not win a People’s Budget today, but we are building the sort of movement that can win one in the future, and I am proud to be part of that movement. Thanks to all the hundreds of working people who came together this year to fight for a People’s Budget. You have again set an example for working people around the country fighting for an alternative to austerity and the bankruptcy of corporate politics.”

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