Historic investments into housing and supportive services made possible by JumpStart Progressive Revenue Council protected
SEATTLE – Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of the Budget Committee, issued the following statement in response to Mayor Durkan signing the City of Seattle’s 2022 Budget into law today:
“The final 2022 City Council Budget that Council passed goes into law today that makes an historic investment of $194m into affordable housing and services, front-loads funding for shovel-ready affordable housing projects this year, and ensures continuity of affordable housing funding in coming years,” said Mosqueda. “The Council’s final budget invests over $15.4m in new services for sheltering and caring for those who are experiencing homelessness resulting in a total of $156m in the 2022 adopted budget. Additionally, there is over $27m into community care and stability programs, such as $7.8m in criminal legal system strategies and alternatives, $6.1m for firefighters and behavioral & mental health care, $5.7m additional food security investments, $4m restored for youth violence interventions, and almost $6m for youth education and arts and culture programs.”
“Cities around the country made deep budgetary cuts to city services and implemented layoffs during these tough times, but in Seattle the JumpStart progressive payroll tax, which Council passed and protected with a veto override last year, allowed Council to avoid austerity approaches and steer clear of further exacerbating growing income inequality. This final City Council Budget instead creates more affordable housing, increases shelters and services for those who are experiencing homelessness, and ultimately helps build toward a more equitable economic recovery,” Mosqueda continued.
“The Council budget restored the JumpStart spending plan to avoid a 2023 fiscal cliff for affordable housing, and invests in the promised Green New Deal and economic resilience programs. After a decrease in the November revenue forecast, Council went further to add to the fiscal reserves to help guard against future economic volatility. The Council’s final budget invests over $70m in Council priorities to address the most pressing crises facing our city today,” said Mosqueda.
“Despite initial misleading statements by the Mayor, Council’s budget always made significant investments in public safety, including 26 new dispatch positions to the Community Safety Communications Center, fully funded the hiring plan for new officers, and never cut Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers or salaries. Additionally, the Council’s budget rightly captured cost savings from vacant positions so that every available dollar was put to use in 2022. This includes funding for efforts to expand mobile mental and behavioral health crisis services, investments into law enforcement diversion programs, funding for organizations working toward community-led solutions to end violence and increase safety in BIPOC communities, and restored funding for the Community Safety Initiative cut by the Mayor’s proposed budget for gun violence and youth violence reduction programs. In the last week, Council’s only change was to add one new unit of Community Safety Officers as requested, expanding the Community Safety Officers (CSOs) by adding six new positions to the eighteen already funded this year,” said Mosqueda.
Mosqueda concluded, “Council made difficult but important decisions for our City in the face of a very bad economic forecast and an even worse public health crisis, to ensure Seattle’s most urgent needs are met. My colleagues and I were firm in the need and approach to redeploy funds in a way that served to help create stability, safety and a resilient Seattle here forward.”