A transit option for those who depend on public transportation
King County's new $1.50 low income transit fare, Orca Lift, goes into effect on March 1. Orca lift gives residents a cheaper alternative to get to school, work, health appointments and key services they need. This valuable program will help many residents in our region who are struggling to make ends meet. Some in King County are starting to experience economic recovery from the Great Recession, but many in our region still struggle with rising housing and transportation costs.
Read more of the OpEd I co-authored with Councilmembers Phillips and Gossett.
Budget Committee presents spending plan that prioritizes secure families and communities
Budget Chair Joe McDermott introduces the Council-proposed 2015-2016 Budget on Nov. 11.
McDermott was joined by Sheriff John Urquhart; Councilmembers Dave Upthegrove, Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert; Mary Ellen Stone, Executive Director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center; Merrill Cousin, Executive Director of King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and Barbara Langdon, Executive Director of Lifewire.
Joined by the King County Sheriff and representatives of agencies that serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, the budget negotiation team comprised of four members of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee introduced their 2015-2016 Budget Proposal on November 12. The committee members unveiled a budget plan that will include funding for the investigation of sexual assault crimes.
The budget makes cuts to better align our revenues with our costs. But it also makes strategic investments to help our King County families and communities be secure. Thanks to key partnerships we propose keeping all ten county public health clinics open into the biennium. This is only a bridge. We will continue working with many partners – and our state Legislature – to find a more sustainable solution for Public Health.
Joined by Committee Vice Chair Kathy Lambert and committee members Jane Hague and Dave Upthegrove, McDermott introduced the budget plan that is the culmination of months of review and negotiations. The result is a $9 billion proposal that is King County’s first biennial (two-year) budget for all county agencies, including those contained within the County General Fund. Read more
Prosecutor Dan Satterberg discussed a variety of ways his office has reduced costs.
Budget deliberations underway
The Council's 2015-2016 budget deliberations are underway. I am again chairing the Council's Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. We have heard from the County's separately elected officials – the Elections director, the auditor, judges, the Sheriff, the Prosecutor –about their budget needs. And those needs are great. As a colleague put it, the County has been operating in a "managed bankruptcy" state for many years now. We have an ongoing gap year-to-year between our revenues and the cost of delivering our programs – which simply increase given inflation and population growth. The County's continuing shortfall is made worse by the decline of stable funding for core services.
Three panels will direct County Council’s review of Executive’s Proposed Biennial Budget
$8.9 Billion proposal will be assessed with goal of November adoption
Four members of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee will direct the Council’s deliberation of the proposed King County Budget delivered September 22 by County Executive Dow Constantine.
“King County continues to face a massive budget shortfall in our General Fund which limits our ability to make wise investments that will save money in the long-run. That’s why I’m pleased the Executive announced that he will lead an effort to develop a levy to make the wisest investment possible – in our kids,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “I appreciate the hard choices Executive Constantine made while developing his budget. My council colleagues and I will now begin our review, continuing the Executive’s efforts to ensure our government is running as efficiently as possible.”
The proposed budget introduced today by County Executive Dow Constantine is King County’s first biennial (two-year) budget for all county agencies, including those contained within the County General Fund. After the budget is adopted, it will be updated as needed over the two-year period.
The Executive’s proposal would bring the County’s total spending in the 2015-2016 biennium to a total of $8.9 billion. The proposed budget includes a $1.5 billion General Fund budget, three-quarters of which is targeted for law, justice and public safety services.
All nine members of the Council serve on the Budget Committee during budget negotiations with Councilmember McDermott as Chair of the committee. For the 2015-2016 budget deliberations, three Councilmembers will direct panels that will review all aspects of the Executive Proposed Budget.
The Council's budget and Fiscal Management Committee will hold four public meetings in north, east, and south county, as well as downtown Seattle, at which the public may comment on the proposed budget.
Learn more about the King County budget and the challenges the County faces by reading the budget basics pages.
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