Council Leads with Anti-Austerity Measures and New Investments in Community, Participatory Budgeting Process
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of the Council’s Select Budget Committee, released the below statement after the Council passed a mid-year 2020 budget addressing the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, following a first-in-recent-history summer budget session:
“This Council has done something no Seattle City Council has ever done — passed a mid-year budget revision, while working remotely, during overlapping health, homelessness and housing crises. It would have been easy to rubber stamp the Mayor’s proposed budget package, but instead, we rolled up our sleeves and did the hard work,” Mosqueda said.
“This summer, Council worked on several budget measures that centered equity, anti-austerity, transparency, and collaboration, including:
- Passing Jump Start Seattle — a $214 million progressive revenue tax putting money into immediate COVID relief and long-term economic stability by investing in deeply affordable housing, equitable development, Green New Deal priorities, and economic revitalization for small businesses and workers.
- Deliberating on adding tens of millions into the Seattle Transportation Benefits District package focused on frequency of transit trips and equity.
- Directing $14 million in community investments, including youth-focused diversion programs and community-led public safety programs.
- Allocating $3 million to a participatory budgeting process, so the community can better engage with the City in the fall as we craft the 2021-22 budget.
- Adopting financial policies that allow City resources to be used to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge.
“We identified early on that we would not succumb to an austerity budget that pitted vital programs and services against one another. We knew there would be tough choices, but ultimately we crafted a budget that addresses the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, made new investments in our social safety nets including homelessness prevention and COVID relief for families, made a meaningful down payment following community’s calls to defund SPD, and raised new progressive revenue through the JumpStart Seattle plan.
“We came together collectively and put Seattle resident and worker priorities and values forward, crafting a mid-year budget that lifts up anti-austerity in how we’re responding to COVID, caring for our most vulnerable, and our commitment to raise progressive revenue.
“I’m proud of the work my Council colleagues and I did this summer, and know we’ll continue the hard work of making sure the City’s budget reflects our shared values in the fall budget cycle, which starts in just a few weeks.”