Seattle, WA — Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide), Chair of the Select Budget Committee, published the Council’s Balancing Package Tuesday afternoon. The package seeks to prioritize the city’s limited revenue in investments that help house more Seattleites, create safer communities for all, and invest in a thriving, diverse local economy.
“The past two years have created tremendous changes for residents, small businesses and our most vulnerable in our city. But while other cities across the country have resorted to cuts in services, layoffs, and austerity, Seattle is in a much stronger position thanks to the passage of JumpStart Seattle and upstream investments in community,” said Mosqueda. “This 2022 balanced budget is only possible because of the work of Council and advocates to pass progressive revenue through the JumpStart Seattle payroll tax. Last year JumpStart allowed for immediate investments in urgent COVID-19 needs – testing centers, rent relief, childcare and small business cash payments, and direct cash assistance to communities often left behind by federal policies. Going forward, the balancing package protects publicly vetted and codified JumpStart investments in affordable housing, equitable development, economic resilience and Green New Deal priorities in this 2022 proposed budget.”
Mosqueda continued, “Last Wednesday (November 3), the City Budget Office’s Revenue Forecast Team reduced its combined General Fund revenue forecast for 2021 and 2022 by about $15 million. During the September Select Budget Committee meeting, Central Staff and Councilmembers discussed the risks of using the ‘baseline forecast’ instead of the ‘pessimistic forecast’ given the ongoing COVID emergency and ability for workers to return to work in person throughout Seattle. Additionally, Councilmembers submitted a large number of Council Budget Actions, or CBAs, as proposed amendments to the Mayor’s balancing package for my consideration. Given the sharp increase in need for vulnerable Seattlites, the amendments focused on increasing homelessness services, ensuring economic recovery, building affordable housing, addressing equitable community safety, and investing in a resilient Seattle.”
Since early 2020, Council has worked to create more accountability and transparency in the budgeting process with earlier previewed amendments and balancing packages, communications tools illustrating ways to engage and steps in the budget process. Moreover, under the leadership of Council President González, the council worked to establish the creation of an independent economic and revenue forecasting office that will be operational in 2022.
“My job as Budget Chair is building a sustainable budget that aims to reflect community priorities, direction from Councilmembers, and Seattle’s shared progressive values,” concluded Mosqueda. “It’s in this moment that we must come together as a city to invest and grow a healthy, safe, and housed Seattle – I believe our proposed balancing package aims to accomplish that vision.”