The full Seattle City Council will vote Monday, Nov. 24, on its amended budget that includes more than $14 million in changes to Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-16 biennial budget. The added budgetary items are aimed at ensuring that Seattle doesn’t become the “1-percent city” that City Councilmember Kshama Sawant says it’s becoming.
The budget includes more than $1.4 million to help the homeless, for hygiene services, street outreach, regional partnerships, a low-barrier women’s shelter, support for those living in transitional encampments and to implement the mayor’s task force’s upcoming recommendations.
Another $1.6 million was added to give 1,500 of the city’s employees a minimum-wage increase to $15 per hour, starting in April 2015, in response to Murray’s promise in January that was not kept in his proposed budget.
These and other amendments were funded with savings from cutting police overtime, indigent defense services and the Summer Streets program, city spokesperson Dana Robinson Slote told The Seattle Times.
Yet, the council is still investigating an income tax on people who earn $1 million or more, as suggested by Sawant; a large public bond sale for new public housing on public land; and an acoustic gunshot locator system for the Seattle Police Department. Obviously, more money will be needed for the city’s other priorities, like infrastructure, that still remain underfunded.
We’ll likely find out how viable this budget is soon, when we’re asked to vote on yet another proposition to tax ourselves. By then, we’ll have more than our share of unfulfilled promises and even less money to pay for them.