FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/24/2014
Councilmember Sawant Votes No on Final Budget Package,
Welcomes Positive Amendments to Mayor’s Budget
SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant released the following statement after voting against the Mayor’s 2015-2016 proposed budget in today’s Budget Committee:
“I welcome and have fought for each and every improvement to the Mayor’s budget, and I thank the Council for supporting my amendments to raise City-employed workers to $15 per hour next year, provide critical funding for transitional homeless encampments, and sustain a year-round women’s homeless shelter.
“However, the positive amendments introduced by the City Council only marginally change a $4.8 billion business-as-usual budget. I cannot endorse a fundamentally unjust budget which fails to address Seattle’s housing crisis, underfunded social services, inadequate mass transit and gridlocked traffic, and growing inequality across class, racial and gender lines.
“During this budget cycle it was clearly demonstrated why, year after year, the City and its elected officials fall so short of meeting the needs of poor and working people in Seattle. We saw the Mayor and a majority of the Council attend a luxury retreat with the Chamber of Commerce to hear big business’s budget priorities. We saw many of the budget decisions being driven by informal agendas where the powerful have special access, rather than by the needs of Seattle’s working people. We watched as Councilmembers were unwilling to consider lowering their own salaries ($120,000/year, the second highest in the nation) to pay for increased social services to address the multiple crises we face.
“On the bright side, we saw activists, social service providers, and labor and community leaders come together to begin building a movement for a People’s Budget, starting with listening to the needs of the people, not the corporations. This fight for a People’s Budget will continue beyond today’s vote.”