• Jacque Coe

Mayor’s 2021 budget includes cuts, emergency reserves, and JumpStart tax funds to close budget gap

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has delivered a conservative budget for the next year—using budget cuts, funds from emergency reserves and the city’s new JumpStart tax on large businesses to fill a $200 million deficit.

The budget rolls out $6.5 billion in total spending—similar to last year—including $1.5 billion in general funding spending. According to press reports, it’s the first time in many years the Seattle city budget would remain flat and not increase amid the city’s recent technology boom.

The proposal takes $60 million in budget cuts across departments, such as parks, transportation, utilities and Seattle Center. Multiple capital projects would be deferred, including the First Avenue streetcar line, some park projects, some bike-infrastructure improvements and some pedestrian-infrastructure improvements.

The plan also calls for spending $100 million for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Durkan will pay for those using the JumpStart tax on large companies she previously opposed but approved by the council earlier year. The mayor’s plan would also move $70 million from the emergency reserves. Part of the spending plan also includes monies for COVID-related response programs.

The Mayor’s budget also adds Sweetened Beverage Tax funding of $1.5 million for a new prenatal to 3-year-old grant program for community-based organizations. The Department of Education and Early Learning will work with King County Best Starts for Kids to develop the grant program to reduce the disparities for children and families based on race, gender, or income and improve kindergarten readiness.

The council budget committee will meet next week to start the review process, with any changes and approval coming before Thanksgiving. To read the full budget proposal, click here.

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