SEATTLE – Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide and Chair of the Select Budget Committee) issued a statement following today’s updated revenue forecast, which predicts that the City will have significantly less than anticipated revenues for the 2023-2024 budget. Over the biennium, the City is anticipating a net $64 million decrease in Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues, a net decrease of $9.4 million in general fund revenues, and a net decrease of $4.5 million in revenues from the Sweetened Beverage Tax.
“Today’s revenue forecast demonstrates the instability and insufficiency of the existing revenue streams to meet the growing needs of Seattle’s residents and the inequities exacerbated by COVID-19,” said Councilmember Mosqueda. “We will respond with urgency and compassion to this new revenue forecast by continuing to craft a budget that focuses on core city services, avoids austerity, and invests in a more equitable economy. Today’s revenue forecast news amplifies the need for more long-term, sustainable, progressive revenue for future budgets to ensure we can meet the needs of our city’s residents, infrastructure and local economy.”
Today’s news, which includes a steep decline in multiple revenue streams – an especially sharp decline in REET funding – creates immense challenges for balancing the budget as the REET revenue stream has typically been used for capital projects in transportation and infrastructure.
Due to this updated forecast, Council will consider the 2023-2024 budget on a new timeline. The Chair’s Balancing Package will be released on Monday,November 14, the Council will begin voting on the balancing package on Monday, November 21, and the Council’s final Committee vote is scheduled for Monday, November 28. The Council will still hold the oral public comment periods as scheduled: at Public Hearings on Tuesday, November 8 at 9:30 AM and Tuesday, November 15 at 5:00 PM, and during Public Comment on Monday, November 21 at 9:30 AM. Remote public comment is still strongly encouraged due to the continued presence of COVID-19 and the projected influenza transmission this fall.
“Updating our budget calendar will give us the time needed to account for the updated revenue forecast in our balancing package, in an intentional and thoughtful way,” continued Mosqueda. “In light of the unprecedented circumstances, our analysts will be working with community, Councilmembers, the City Budget Office and the City’s Departments to help identify options that allow us to balance this budget and still strive to meet the needs of Seattle residents.”
“As newer, progressive revenue options, like JumpStart Seattle, come into place, we will be able to invest in our City’s long-term needs. My top priority in the coming biennium is working with you all, with transparency and accountability, to ensure our City has new, progressive revenue tools that invest in immediate needs and build towards a sustainable, resilient Seattle. Thank you to the thousands of community members who called for progressive revenue for years, and the broad coalition of stakeholders who worked on JumpStart Seattle. The Seattle Revenue Stabilization Workgroup will be creating a report of progressive revenue options for action in the upcoming year, so that short-term solutions like the ones we will consider this year can be replaced by long-term progressive revenue to stabilize our city’s revenue streams.”
Final committee action is scheduled to occur on Monday, November 28. Final Council action is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, November 29.