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The Durkan Digest: My 2020 Budget Plan for Seattle – Turning Our Progressive Values into Action

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Once a year, I get the chance to present my proposed budget plan to the City Council and the people of Seattle.

On Monday morning, I used that opportunity to travel to Franklin High School to join community members, City employees, City Councilmembers, and the amazing students and staff of Franklin to announce my 2020 Proposed Budget for Seattle.

Mayor Jenny Durkan stands on stage and waves in advance of delivering her 2020 Proposed Budget Speech.

Our budget reflects the present and future we want for the people of Seattle, and for our youth, like the students who were there with me on Monday. My budget keeps the lights on – and invests in progress on some tough problems for Seattle. Along with delivering the basis services that residents rely on – from picking up the garbage to delivering clean electricity to plowing the snow to filling the potholes to keeping people and goods moving during the Seattle Squeeze – my budget would invest in:

  • Expanding opportunity for young people. That includes supporting two years of free college for all Seattle public school graduates through our Seattle Promise College Tuition Program and nearly doubling our investments in our Child Care Assistance Program to serve 600 more families.
Social media graphic reading "nearly double investments in the City's Childcare Assistance Program to serve 600 more children"
  • Building safer, more just communities. My budget takes steps like: adding new police officers and expanding our Community Service Officer program and supporting community-based emphasis patrols, so there’s more officers walking and biking in communities they serve. And it renews our commitment to not just community-based policing, but to true public safety and shared opportunity – like free transit, college and jobs, and restorative justice and youth safety.
  • Addressing the homelessness crisis. The City is doing more than ever to help our neighbors who are living unsheltered. We’ve created greater accountability, we’ve helped more people, and for the first time since 2012, the annual Point in Time Count show a decline in the number of people experiencing homelessness. My budget invests to keep that progress going. But still, too many of our neighbors are suffering. So this budget will make historic investments in a new era and a new approach of a single unified regional response that will help prevent people from falling into homelessness in the first place – and help connect people with housing and services.
  • This budget makes new, unprecedented in housing in Seattle. This budget makes new, unprecedented investments in housing in Seattle. This summer, I announced the “Housing Seattle Now” initiative – a new surge of investments in both low- and middle-income housing. With my budget, we have a chance to keep that momentum going. We can invest over $78 million from the sale of the Mercer properties to build and support more affordable housing and prevent displacement. And as I wrote you earlier this month, I am proposing my “Fare Share” plan to so Uber and Lyft drivers can make a minimum wage, and so we can invest another $52 million in housing near transit. My budget also takes advantage of a new state law to invest an additional $25 million in more housing across Seattle.
Social media graphic reading: "The Fare Share Plan: A fair wage and worker protections for Uber and Lyft Drivers"
  • Creating a more connected city with more safe transportation choices. We simply don’t have enough transit, and we don’t have enough safe, affordable, and reliable options for people to get around – no matter where you live. That’s why my budget invests in critical steps like new safety, bike, pedestrian, and transit improvements; supports free ORCA cards for students and our low-income neighbors; invests in more Metro bus service; supports a goal of 90 new blocks of bus-only lanes; and invests in new first-last mile connections to transit, new protected bike lanes, and better (and more) sidewalks.
Social media graphic reading: "$31 Million in new investments for safety, bike, pedestrian, and transit improvements"

Click here to learn more about my 2020 Proposed Budget, watch video from Monday’s event, and explore our proposed budget itself.

Seattle is changing. And with our budget, we can decide what kind of city we want to be. As I said Monday, it’s time to once again to turn our progressive values into action – action that does the most good for the most people. I look forward to working with the City Council to cement this plan as a guide for our work in the coming year.

I value your input and hope to hear from you on our shared priorities in my 2020 budget plan for Seattle. Please continue to write me at, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we’re doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.


Mayor Jenny A. Durkan's Signature

This blog post is an excerpt from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s weekly newsletter. If would like more content like this, and a weekly recap of the exciting things happening in the City of Seattle, you can subscribe here.