Sawant: Seattle’s budget for 2020 ‘not a moral document’
Seattle’s 2020 budget was approved by all but one city councilmember in Kshama Sawant, who, despite supporting various amendments, objected to other aspects enough to vote against it entirely.
“When you compare the budget … to the social needs of our city, and the deep inequality and racism in our city, it simply is not a moral document,” she said during deliberations Monday.
Sawant cited a handful of objections to the budget, including the prioritization of congestion tolling in Seattle, something the city will continue to look into in an effort to reduce traffic downtown.
“I don’t want to be told yet again that somehow there’s some progressive way of doing it, because as an economist I’ve never seen congestion tolling that is progressive,” she noted.
She also spoke out against “regressive taxes that burden poor and working class people while corporations continue to get a free ride,” a failure to adequately address housing and homelessness, and the approval of “repressive policing over actual justice to our communities of color.”
Included in the budget was $1.5 million to attract and retain Seattle police, in addition to money to expand the city’s tiny home villages, and increased funding for diversionary case workers.
“The budget still fails to meet human needs,” said Sawant.
Moving forward, Sawant cited a handful of priorities once the new council is seated in 2020, in the wake of what many viewed as a progressive mandate in the November election.
“I don’t want us to rest on our laurels, and I hope that when January comes around, we will get back to serious organizing to win taxes on big business, to win rent control, and to make this city affordable and livable for everybody,” she said.