To date, fallout from the coronavirus will leave an estimated $300 million revenue shortfall in Seattle’s budget this year, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan. She said this represents about a 20% loss to the general fund in FY 2020.
Durkan has responded by ordering either a freeze or reduction in non-essential spending and non-COVID-19 related hiring, travel, and contracts. The shortfall will force the city to rebalance its budget while finding new resources for spending on crisis response.
Durkan said her priorities now are worker and community safety, short-term financial assistance, and a long-term recovery plan for workers and businesses. Durkan has transmitted a plan to the City Council to reallocate $14 million to rental assistance, small businesses, and meals. Seattle has the largest increase in its unemployment rate among the 130 biggest U.S. cities, according to a study by the website WalletHub.com.