(The Center Square) – Seattle City Councilmember and Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda revealed her 2024 budget balancing package which turns new projected revenues into a 3% increase to next year’s general fund expenditures.
Earlier this month, the Seattle Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts released new projections for the city’s revenue in 2023 and 2024.
In total, the projected general fund revenue for 2024 increased $9.8 million to $1.69 billion. Mosqueda’s balancing package utilizes this revenue increase and JumpStart Payroll tax revenue to boost 2024 general fund expenditures from $1.83 billion proposed by Mayor Bruce Harrell to $1.88 billion.
The new balancing package chips away at the city’s general fund deficit. Harrell’s proposed budget has an average deficit of $247 million for 2025 and beyond. Mosqueda’s balancing package reduces that deficit to $221 million.
“This is primarily due to the forecast, which is showing an ongoing increase in revenue, as well as to a correction of an error in the financial plan,” Seattle Central Staff Director Esther Handy explained to the budget committee on Oct. 20. “But I will add that the balancing package adds only a very small amount of ongoing spending to the general fund, which helps with this improved look at out-year sustainability.”
The error in the city’s financial plan brought forth to the budget committee was not identified.
The summary also notes that temporary use of JumpStart progressive revenue will no longer supplant the general fund in 2025.
“As we continue the 2024 budget discussion, the looming revenue challenges that are on the horizon in 2025 and beyond must be front of mind,” the 2024 chair’s balancing package summary states. “The Budget Committee will address any revenue and fee related policies in the November meetings, prior to the completion of the 2024 budget process.”
The Center Square previously reported on Harrell calling on city councilmembers to focus the additional revenue on restoring investments in school safety through automated traffic enforcement cameras, resolving open labor contracts for city employees, and paying down the looming deficit in 2025.
Out of the $9.8 million increase in general fund revenue, the proposed balancing package would broadly use $5 million to avoid reductions to transportation funding and contribute to labor reserves. The remaining $4.5 million would be used to expand services, particularly in human service and community safety, according to a presentation to the Seattle Budget Committee on Oct. 20.
Budget deliberations will continue with city councilmembers’ budget amendment proposal due to central staff on Oct. 27. Central staff will then present a list of proposed budget amendments on Oct. 27.
Further discussion and voting on proposed amendments will be held on Nov. 13-15. Final committee vote and council adoption is set for Nov. 20-21.