The latest City of Seattle budget projections predict a $117 million budget deficit in 2023. Remarkably, in 2019, former City budget director Ben Noble predicted a $116 million budget deficit for 2023, urging the City Council to avoid increased spending. Seattle was enjoying its fifth straight year of revenue growth at that time.
The new Jumpstart payroll tax ($231 million) and $128 million in one-time Covid relief funding have helped the City keep the books balanced over the past couple of years. Both the Mayor’s office and Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda clearly stated that austerity alone will not fix the budget shortfall.
However, as he begins work on the 2023 budget – which he will present to the Council in September – Mayor Harrell has asked every city department to prepare budgets with 3% – 6% cuts. The Mayor is also exploring state and federal grants to help slice the deficit. Finally, Mayor Harrell is searching for new revenue sources:
“We are a long way from saying we have a new revenue source right now,” Harrell said. “We’re working with Councilmember Mosqueda to create a revenue task force to see if there are any options for additional revenue on the horizon.”