Despite a historically difficult budget year, this anti-austerity budget invests in key services for our City’s working families and small businesses
SEATTLE – Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide and Chair of the Select Budget Committee) released the following statement following a day of voting on final amendments to the balancing package:
“This is a budget that meets the moment: in the face of growing economic uncertainty, human suffering and growing stress in community, this budget invests in services that working families and small businesses rely on to weather these compounding storms,” said Councilmember Mosqueda. “It invests in wages for human service providers who keep folks housed and help find housing and services for those experiencing homelessness. It helps build a resilient and more equitable economy by connecting people with strong union jobs. It invests in the most pressing need in our community by making the largest investment in affordable housing in our city’s history, a 400% increase since 2016. This budget responds in part to the calls for more mental health funding for high school you. And this budget invests in healthy communities through gun violence prevention and increased abortion access, among so much more.”
Despite looming economic uncertainty and the highest inflation in decades, Councilmember Mosqueda’s mission was to create a budget that rejected austerity and prioritized keeping our community cared for and housed, connected and resilient, and healthy and safe. Today, the Council voted on amendments to that package – many of which were welcomed and made the package even stronger.
A detailed summary of what is in the final package can be found here, but some highlights include:
- Human service provider inflationary wage increases to stay true to previously passed legislation and ensure our city’s domestic violence, homelessness, and food security providers do not fall further behind;
- Funding the Seattle Fire Department emergency response capacity by funding the medic unit at Fire Station 26 and the ladder truck at Fire Station 27 to continue to serve West Seattle and South Park;
- $20 million 2023 and 2024 in Equitable Development Initiative projects that advance economic opportunity, prevent displacement, and meet community needs with developments that include things like housing, childcare, space for small business, cultural and community space;
- Nearly $20 million in 2023 and 2024 for Green New Deal investments including nearly $4 million in investments to create community climate resilience hubs, $3.7 million for indigenous-led sustainability projects, and $1.8 million to community-led environmental justice projects in 2023. Amendments made to further align GND Oversight Board priorities.
- Created a combined total of $1.5 million in 2023 for abortion care to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive care for uninsured individuals in Seattle;
- An historic $253 million investment into the Office of Housing for affordable housing – that is a near $50 million increase over last budget for building affordable rental housing, more supportive services, and first-time homeownership opportunities, only made possible by JumpStart – and that amount is just for 2023, with an increase in 2024; and
- Includes a combined $4 million in mental health investments across the biennium for youth mental health needs in partnership with the Mayor’s office, begin the path towards meeting student needs and demands.
This budget was heavily influenced by Seattle residents and workers. Over the past eight weeks, the Council has convened three public hearings, nine public committee meetings, listened to hundreds of community members, and Councilmembers have proposed nearly 200 amendments.
Less than three weeks ago, the City received a dire economic forecast, projecting a net $64 million decrease in the Real Estate Excise Tax, a net $9.4 million decrease in the General Fund, and a net $4.5 million decrease in Sweetened Beverage Tax revenues over the biennium. Despite all of this, this isn’t just an anti-austerity budget – it is balanced and takes a thoughtful approach to sustainability.
The final votes on the budget will take place on Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29. For more information about the budget, please reference the Budget Committee page as well as a guide on the Council’s budget process.