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City of Seattle revenue forecast offers short-term hope, long-term concern

The city will have more money than it expected this year, but the financial future has become bleaker in Seattle.

SEATTLE — An updated revenue forecast for the City of Seattle presented a mixed bag on Wednesday.

On one hand, the city will have an additional $31.8 million in the general fund (GF) for 2023. This new money comes as a net of a planned $38 million reduction of the transfer from the JumpStart Fund (JSF) to the GF in 2023.

The reduction comes due to better-than-expected 2022 GF financial results.

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However, based on revised expenditures projections, the average GF deficit for 2025 and 2026 increased from $212 million to $224 million. This stems primarily from inflationary increases in expenditures outpacing revenue projections for the future year.

The updated revenue projections come from the Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts and the City Budget Office.

Although Seattle operated with a surplus budget in 2021 and most of 2022, a significant decline in revenue expectations will widen the deficit gap through 2026.

The Finance and Housing Committee of the Seattle City Council will be briefed on all the details of the latest forecasts in a meeting Wednesday.

Seattle is not the only western Washington municipality dealing with a budget shortfall in coming years.

King County leadership revealed in April that a $100 million shortfall is expected in 2025, which it claims is due to a limitation on property tax collection.

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