‘Cuts are going to be hard’ as King County stares down $20 million budget shortfall

Apr 28, 2020, 6:51 AM | Updated: 12:39 pm
Dow Constantine, coronavirus, seattle protest...
King County Executive Dow Constantine. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

King County is blowing through cash in its coronavirus response, and it could end up facing a giant budget shortfall as a result.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn told KTTH’s Jason Rantz that the county has already gone through its rainy day fund, and it will likely have to look at job cuts and other belt-tightening measures to make up for the money it is spending on this health crisis.

“The cuts are going to be hard,” Dunn said. “It’s going to be a very rocky road, and that rainy day reserve fund won’t be there to be the shock absorber for a down economy.”

The county council already approved a $28 million emergency funding package. County Executive Dow Constantine plans to ask the council for $57 million more.

How Pierce County’s ‘nimbleness’ has kept it functioning during shutdown

Dunn says the budget shortfall could hit $20 million dollars or more.

“We need to start thinking about recession-era mentality in terms of shrinking government,” Dunn said. “It’s time to start cutting back and managing with less.”

Some of that is already happening. Dunn said the county has told its departments to stop hiring, and they are looking at early retirement buyout packages to trim the workforce.

Snohomish County is in a similar spot. It is staring at a $26 million budget hole. Even with reserves and one-time funding options, Pierce County is looking at a $12 million shortfall.

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‘Cuts are going to be hard’ as King County stares down $20 million budget shortfall