Tag Archives: Economy

Compromise City Budget Avoids Major Cuts, Including to Police Department

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


The cessation of open warfare between Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council over the 2021 budget doesn’t make for the most dramatic headlines (see above), but the detente between the two feuding branches could mean a budget compromise that won’t end in another spate of open warfare.

The Council’s budget proposal makes dramatic cuts to Durkan’s proposal to designate $100 in funding “for BIPOC communities,” fulfills the City’s 2019 promise to invest proceeds from the the sale of publicly owned land in South Lake Union into housing and anti-displacement programs, and cuts the size of the police department by about 20%, with a commitment to spend the savings from those reductions on community safety projects through a participatory budgeting process, which the budget also funds.

On Monday, Durkan issued a statement praising the Council’s budget for “continuing that historic $100 million for communities through slightly different community-led processes.” This was a departure from Durkan’s previous position on the Council’s spending priorities. Last month, a mayoral spokeswoman responded to questions about the racial equity implications of Durkan’s $100 million plan by suggesting that the Council’s own spending proposals, including plans for COVID relief, participatory budgeting, and police department cuts, had not gone through a proper vetting to see if they truly benefited Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

Continue reading Compromise City Budget Avoids Major Cuts, Including to Police Department

Despite Eviction Moratorium, Renters Are Still Being Evicted

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


Renters across Washington state have existed in a kind of financial and legal limbo since mid-March, when Governor Jay Inslee issued the first statewide eviction moratorium, declaring that the temporary measure would “help reduce economic hardship and related life, health, and safety risks to those members of our workforce impacted by layoffs and substantially reduced work hours or who are otherwise unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the time, no one knew how long the pandemic would continue or the impact it would have on the state and national economy. Since then, Inslee has extended the moratorium four more times, most recently in October, when he set a new expiration date of December 31.

But despite the moratorium, commonly referred to as an “eviction ban,” renters are still being evicted. Last month, nearly 40 people were evicted through the court system in King County, up from just eight in April. (We know the numbers for King County because they’re tracked by the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project, but a similar trend is almost certainly happening across the state). Added to that are an unknown number of people who are informally evicted through methods that, while not technically evictions, still have the same effect, their numbers never counted in the total of people forced to move — or made homeless — during a worldwide pandemic.

Continue reading Despite Eviction Moratorium, Renters Are Still Being Evicted

OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police

by Kshama Sawant


“It should surprise no one that the Mayor who has overseen police indiscriminately tear gas protest movements is now trying to gaslight an entire city into thinking she believes that Black Lives Matter.”

Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has given us torrents of tear gas, blast balls, and pepper spray, who has staunchly defended Amazon and billionaires from even minimal taxation, and who has presided over brutal austerity budgets, is now offering a 2021 budget that will only double down on hard times for Seattle’s working people and marginalized communities.

Behind her gauzy rhetoric about “reimagining policing” and the “largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice,” Mayor Durkan is proposing a business-as-usual budget that fundamentally fails working people, especially in Black and Brown communities. 

Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police

As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State has reached a new milestone in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, there have been 50,000 people who have tested positive for the virus, since the start of the pandemic.

This is not a good number.

Continue reading As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot

Washington Can’t Afford Austerity

by Marilyn Watkins 


As tax revenues fall with people out of work and whole industries shuttered, Washington’s state and local governments are laying off staff, reducing pay, and slashing services that are helping people weather the COVID storm. Cutting important services now will cause immediate suffering, prolong the recession, and deepen racial and economic inequity. 

We need our state legislators and other elected officials to have the courage to raise new taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, then reinvest that money in health care, secure housing, child care, educational opportunity, and income support for people and small businesses who are struggling for survival.

Continue reading Washington Can’t Afford Austerity

OPINION: Lawmakers Must Invest in a Cash Stimulus for the People Who Drive Our Economy

by Emily Vyhnanek and Margaret Babayan

(This piece was originally published on the Washington State Budget & Policy Center blog.)


COVID-19 has exposed just how many people across the state were one paycheck away from being unable to meet their basic needs. People who were experiencing economic hardship before this crisis are falling further behind. Federal action to expand unemployment protections and provide stimulus payments were important first steps, but too many people — especially undocumented workers — were excluded, and much more needs to be done to ensure everyone can meet their needs while staying safe.

Continue reading OPINION: Lawmakers Must Invest in a Cash Stimulus for the People Who Drive Our Economy

Gov. Jay Inslee Extends Stay-Home Order to May 31, Unveils Phased Reopening Plan

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State’s stay-home order will now remain in place until May 31, in order to continue to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the state works in four phases to return to relative normalcy.

The state has been under a stay-home order since late March. Though the order was supposed to be lifted on May 4, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference on May 1 that though there has been some “good news,” regarding the slowed spread of the virus, the data simply doesn’t support fully opening up the state yet. As of April 30, there have been 14,327 confirmed cases and 814 deaths.

Continue reading Gov. Jay Inslee Extends Stay-Home Order to May 31, Unveils Phased Reopening Plan

Inslee Announces Broad Plans to Reopen Washington State’s Economy, Including Rapid Response Team

by Carolyn Bick


Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said the state will not be able to lift all current movement restrictions and distancing measures by May 4.

In a televised announcement on April 21, Inslee said that the return to normalcy will be guided by science and data, and will be “more like a turning of a dial than the flip of a switch.” He said that these decisions will be based on healthcare modeling, which currently shows a plateau in new novel coronavirus cases, as well as carefully monitoring how the spread of the virus responds, after easing some restrictions.

Continue reading Inslee Announces Broad Plans to Reopen Washington State’s Economy, Including Rapid Response Team