Grim news on the city budget as revenue projections fall short

This afternoon Mayor Durkan and City Budget Director Ben Noble briefed the press on the city’s new projections for how the COVID-19 shutdown is affecting city revenues. This comes on the eve of a presentation to the City Council tomorrow morning on the same information as the Council begins considering a new $500 million payroll tax. Under their most likely scenario, revenues will fall around $210 million below budget. But in a more pessimistic outcome, the shortfall could increase to almost $300 million. Let’s dive into the details.

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City-commissioned UW research report finds that the soda tax isn’t working

When the City Council passed its sweetened-beverage tax in 2017, it commissioned an ongoing study on the impact of that tax in reducing consumption of sugared beverages. Two months ago I reported that the UW team that landed the contract to do the study had yet to deliver a report on 2018 data. But today, the City auditor finally released that report. Its main finding: the soda tax had no effect on the amount of sweetened beverages consumed by low-income children and their parents.

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