Balanced team of experienced, policy-minded civic leaders will develop and recommend innovative long-term solutions to halt increasing General Fund revenue gap and address regressive tax system
Seattle – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide) announced the formation of the City’s Revenue Stabilization Work Group. The group includes a diverse array of local leaders and policy experts, who will analyze issues and recommend solutions at the intersection of the City’s increasing General Fund budget revenue gap and reliance on declining and regressive tax sources.
“The City’s worsening revenue gap is unsustainable, and it's insufficient for City leadership to only respond each year one budget at a time. This initiative will bring together some of our city’s brightest civic minds to comprehensively consider the fundamental and recurring issues facing our operating budget,” said Mayor Harrell. “From increasing revenue gaps and declining revenue sources, to spending trends, rising inflation, and community impacts, this challenge deserves a nuanced, holistic conversation. This work group includes representatives of community organizations and workers, local businesses of all sizes, and experienced executives, elected officials and government leaders – we are once again bringing everyone to the table so that we can all be part of the solution.”
“Our city’s tax revenues have not kept up with the growing population, the growing needs within our communities, and the growing investments needed in infrastructure and care for our economy and residents,” said Councilmember Mosqueda. “Unfortunately, our state tops the list that no one wants to lead – regressive taxation – which causes real problems for real people. We need new progressive revenue sources and with the variety of perspectives and lived experience, coupled with a thoughtful approach, this Task Force will no doubt help generate long-range and far-reaching solutions to create stable revenue for Seattle’s community that is available by the next biennial budget.”
The City’s General Fund budget deficit has continued to increase over the last several years, contending with increased spending to address urgent community needs and declining existing revenue sources, such as funding derived from commercial parking and cable television subscriptions.
This year, Mayor Harrell’s 2023-24 proposed budget responds to a nearly $140 million revenue gap by bending the curve on spending, finding savings, and adding flexibility through use of funding sources with restricted spending purposes. The City Council is currently considering this proposal and may develop or seek alternative steps to address the deficit this year. The work group will look beyond this biennium to consider the scale and substance of long-term changes to the City’s revenue sources, targeting policy recommendations that could be implemented for the 2025 budget.
The City’s available revenue tools are determined by the laws and statutes of Washington state. Washington’s tax system is among the most regressive in the United States, meaning that taxes disproportionately impact lower-income earners and workers. The workgroup will evaluate and pursue innovative options to stabilize revenue and look for opportunities to reduce the regressive nature of Seattle’s tax system on low-income, working, and middle-class residents. The work group will respond to (SLI) FG-002-B-001, passed in 2021, which requests Mayor’s Office and Council collaboration “to review Seattle’s tax structure and identify ways to make it more equitable and to raise new progressive revenue.”
The full list of members of the Revenue Stabilization Work Group can be found below.
Revenue Stabilization Work Group Members
Teresa Mosqueda – Seattle City Councilmember, At-large Position 8; Council Budget Chair
Monisha Harrell – Senior Deputy Mayor, Seattle Mayor’s Office
Louise Chernin – former Executive Director, Greater Seattle Business Association
David Frockt – Washington State Senator, 46th Legislative District; Senate Lead Capital Budget Writer, Vice Chair, Senate Ways & Means Committee
Joe Fugere – Founder, Tutta Bella
Katie Garrow – Executive Secretary Treasurer, MLK Labor
Lindsey Grad – Legislative Director, SEIU 1199NW
Alisha Gregory-Davis – Co-Chair, Coalition of City Unions
Hyeok Kim – Principal, Insa Consulting
Patience Malaba – Executive Director, Housing Development Consortium
Darrell Powell – Chief Financial Officer, YMCA of Greater Seattle
Rachel Smith – President & CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Misha Werschkul – Executive Director, Washington State Budget & Policy Center
Katie Wilson – General Secretary, Transit Riders Union