In their second major rift this week, today the City Council and Mayor Durkan fired accusations at each other over how to handle revenues from the Sweetened Beverage Tax (aka the “soda tax”) and the Short-term Rental Tax (aka the “AirBnB tax”).
This morning, the City Council’s Budget Committee received a briefing on the revenue outlook for the rest of 2019 and beyond, as well as the overall financial condition of city government. The theme running under all of it: winter is coming.
It took nearly nine hours today, but the City Council hammered together most of a budget for the next two years.
This afternoon, the City Budget Office delivered a mid-stream budget update to its revenue forecasts for 2018-2020. Little has changed in the last two months, and that’s bad news for the City Council as it deliberates on the budget for the next two years.
In June of 2017 the City Council passed a sales tax on sweetened beverages, to take effect on January 1, 2018. Now, with some initial data in hand, the Mayor and City Council are deciding how to spend the tax revenues over the next two years. But things haven’t turned out the way the experts predicted, raising questions about whether the “soda tax” was such a good idea in the first place. It equally raises questions about the motives of the city officials charting the tax’s future.
On October 3, the Mayor’s Office walked through for the City Council the parts of the proposed budget related to responding to the homelessness crisis, which span several departments. Let’s dive into the details.
Last week I posted a review of the revenues side of the Mayor’s proposed budget. Here’s the flip side: how the money’s being spent.
We tend to focus all our attention on the spending side of the city budget, but the revenue side is equally important: you need to know how much money you have to spend before you can effectively plan to spend it. Let’s take a look at the city’s revenue sources, and the bottom line.
As promised, Mayor Durkan delivered her proposed 2019-2020 budget to the City Council today. It’s going to take several days for me to go through all of the details, but here’s a high-level first take on it, with highlights and lowlights of what’s new.
For the next two months, the Council is going to put nearly all of their usual work aside to focus on writing the city government’s budget for the 2019-2020 biennium. Here’s what’s going to happen between now and November 19th.