Mayor Durkan’s 2022 Budget Address: Moving Forward Together

Seattle (September 27, 2021) – Earlier today, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan delivered her fourth and final budget address and transmitted her 2022 Proposed Budget to the City Council.

Watch the speech below:

The Mayor delivered her speech from North Seattle College and focused on the COVID-19 crisis and the crises that faced Seattle before the pandemic. This budget is about how we can build back better and more equitably to move forward together, including approximately $200 million in investments in affordable housing, increasing investments in public safety and alternatives, and funding dedicated to building a more equitable Seattle. The total 2022 budget totals over $7.1 billion with $1.6 billion for the general fund that includes additional federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to invest in urgent local priorities. 

Budget priorities for 2022 include:

  • Record Breaking Investments in Housing
  • Addressing Homelessness
  • Investing in Small Businesses, Workforce Development, and Education Equity
  • Environmental Justice and Green New Deal
  • Delivering on City Services

Explore the Mayor’s 2022 Proposed Budget.

Official Transcript:

Good evening from North Seattle College near Northgate. Most of my time as Mayor has been defined by the crises we’ve faced together.  

But Seattle, we are resilient, innovative, and future facing. Two years and what feels like a lifetime ago, at this very college, I shared my vision for the future of our city rooted in our common values.   

Despite our unprecedented challenges, we made real progress on that vision, turning values into actions. We’ve expanded quality pre-K for families and our Seattle Promise program, which guarantees free college for Seattle students at great universities like this.  

This week, students here can walk over the new John Lewis memorial bridge to the new Kraken Starbucks Iceplex. Or take a train from the new light rail station to a great job downtown… 

To the Climate Pledge arena  

Or to our transforming waterfront park.  

Tonight, I want to share the two key priorities in my final budget that keeps us moving forward together: 

First: Continuing the fight against COVID-19, and ensuring we recover stronger and better than before. This demands we make generational investments in equity, so that Seattle truly can be a city for everyone.  

Second: Making unprecedent investments to address other crises that we faced before the pandemic: homelessness, housing, public safety, and climate change.   

None of us imagined how long we’d be fighting this virus. 19 months and we’re still not done.  

COVID-19 has been hard for every person, every family, and every community.  

But at every turn, Seattle, you stepped up. We have done so much to fight COVID and help each other. Our actions have saved thousands of lives.  

From healthcare workers, to first responders, to frontline workers. To teachers and child care providers. To small business owners. Thank you. 

In February, I set a goal to be the first city to have 70% of our residents fully vaccinated.  

Together, we beat that goal. Because of our actions, we have the lowest cases, hospitalizations, and mortality rates of any major American city. But the virus is tough and we have to keep at it.  

That’s why I announced a plan today to provide boosters to eligible individuals and vaccinate our youngest kids as soon as a vaccine is approved for them. We will keep Seattle safe and move our economy forward. We’ll get federal recovery funds where they’re needed. We’ll continue supporting small businesses who are still struggling. We’ll invest in child care, preschool and expand Seattle Promise. We’ll use this crisis to close disparities, not let those gaps get worse.  

We will keep making significant community-led investments to address longstanding racial inequities.  

To truly succeed Seattle, we must respond to crises AND look to the future. That’s what this budget does.  

Over the last four years, I focused much energy and action on our homelessness and housing crisis that was a generation in the making.  

All of us, including me, are frustrated that it feels like any progress we made on homelessness was erased by the pandemic. With thousands of unsheltered individuals in our streets and parks, a shortage of housing and not enough treatment services — there are no easy solutions.  

But with steady regional, state and federal action, there is real hope. 

Over the last year, we started building 1,300 homes for people experiencing homelessness. We’re finally moving to a regional approach to this regional crisis.   

This fall, we’ll open another 375 24/7 shelter spaces. That means we’ll have 3,000 shelter spaces next year to move more people off the streets into safer spaces, while removing the most dangerous encampments. And in this budget, we will nearly double our investments in more affordable housing to 200 million dollars.  

We’ll also continue to address public safety challenges. Like many of you, I believe it’s a false choice to say we must choose between investing in effective community alternatives OR investing in having enough well trained police officers. 

We need both. 

This budget ensures we have enough police officers AND alternatives to police interventions, particularly for people in crisis. Like HealthOne, a program I launched before the pandemic that sends medics and social workers instead of police to certain 911 calls.  

My budget also adds 125 new officers and one million dollars for officer hiring incentives, and new resources for training and oversight. I hope the City Council joins me to support this approach for true community safety, and not buy into false choices. 

Seattle — we still face some serious challenges. But we’ve shown we can do big things if we work together. When the story of this pandemic is told, Seattle, we will be remembered as the city that led the nation and got it right.  

Because of our innovation, compassion and determination.  

Because we care for each other and this city we love.  

Together, we won’t just make it through. We’ll come back stronger, better and more just.   

Please, stay safe, get vaccinated, and take care of each other.   

Good evening.