Rachel Smith, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, and Jon Scholes, President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, penned an opinion piece in The Seattle Times, in which they highlighted that the City of Seattle does not have a revenue problem – the problem is the way the City spends its revenue.
Smith and Scholes point out that between 2017 and 2023, the City’s general fund revenues grew by 3.7% a year, but city spending ballooned at an annual rate of 5.5%. And, starting in 2021, the city also added another $300 million in annual taxes. As a result, the City’s annual tax revenues have grown by 94% over the past 10 years.
Despite all of this new revenue, the City has managed to live beyond its means. Seattle is expected to have budget deficits of $221 million in 2025 and $207 million in 2026.
WR agrees with the authors that the City must rein in its expenditures by eliminating ineffective spending and prioritizing its highest priorities – especially drug use and public safety – before considering new taxes.