RE: The Economy
A strong local economy must be built for the future, have a strong foundation, and be managed by a responsible government. If we’ve recognized anything, it is that the future is green. Seattle has long been at the forefront of environmental sustainability. I want to improve our efforts further through environmental justice and equity, lifting up the voices of indigenous people, and advancing an equitable transition to renewable energy. A solid economic foundation requires working alongside our small businesses and guaranteeing efficient and effective funding mechanisms, services, and resources. We must also prioritize responsible money management. With revenue shortfalls expected to grow into the next biennium, we need leaders committed to fiscal responsibility who will also preserve social services and the key built and human infrastructure provided for our communities. As your councilmember, I will remember my responsibility to the taxpayer as we secure progressive revenue streams and improve public spending so we can fund the budget items we value most.
As we continue to push for a greener economy, it is vital that we do so with justice and equity in mind. I would like to see the City develop an environmental justice and equity assessment to ensure that we are proactively addressing past and present inequities through creative policy solutions while we promote comprehensive problem-solving to improve our environmental and public health. By effectively applying this process, we can advance an equitable transition to renewable energy. With the two biggest goals being to modernize our grid to create and capitalize on new energy services and fulfilling our commitment to electrification for transportation and residential and commercial buildings, there should be a concerted effort to prioritize investment in lower income and BIPOC communities. Additionally, it is important that we develop partnerships with our local tribes and indigenous people and center their voices as we work to maintain the natural beauty of our city. City Council should promote and fund indigenous led sustainability projects, especially here in District 1, including; developing and maintaining soft-surface trails in Pigeon Point and Riverview, conducting upland forest and habitat restoration, and working with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition to address the impacts of pollution in our community.
One of the complaints I hear most from small businesses here in District 1 is the disconnect they feel from our local government. Even with the bridge back, they still feel isolated from council -- as though they aren’t worth helping and their concerns are only owed deaf ears. We need to shift this dynamic. I will commit to open communication with our district’s small business owners, recurring meetings with local business leaders and organizations, and look to organize and facilitate community employment hubs through jobs centers. Small businesses, as the main driver of our economy, deserve access to resources like tax credits, grants, and no- or low-interest loans. I will also maintain or expand current systems in place for assisting small businesses, like; the Only in Seattle Initiative, Business Improvement Areas, and bringing the small business stabilization fund and small business tenant improvement fund to scale.
Revenue & Spending
The Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts released in November the Economic and Revenue Update for the closing of 2022 and the 2023-24 biennium. In this report, OEFR stated their anticipation of significant and growing revenue shortfalls and recommended that the City recognize the high likelihood of falling short of our revenue needs. In order to properly plan for the future, Seattle needs to identify and implement progressive revenue streams with low administrative costs and low, but preferably no, legal risk. We also need to look at how we spend our tax dollars without putting social services and infrastructure on the chopping block. Council needs to recognize and fulfill its responsibility to the taxpayer through a commitment to full budget transparency at a deeper level than department-level spending. On Council, I will fight for localized district budgets to support targeted community investment, coordinating spending on homelessness with the regional authority to avoid unnecessary redundancy, and strategic investments focused on equitable economic recovery.