Today the Seattle Mayor’s office and King County Executive released their budgets. I haven’t had much of a chance to delve into them yet, but so far they look nice. According to Anna Minard, in Seattle:
The proposed budget is $4.4 billion, of which $1 billion is in the general fund. The mayor turned to the council and recalled the bloodbath of cuts they’ve all had to oversee the last few years, and seems to be relishing in the fact that he finally gets to have a fun budget. His proposed budget funds more cops, senior centers, homeless services, domestic violence services, gender pay equity, an empowerment institute for refugee women, a ton of traffic and pedestrian safety improvements around schools, more neighborhood matching funds, universal preschool planning, road maintenance, kittens, free pot for everyone, and a new bike for you! And you! And YOU! (Just checking to see if you’re still reading.)
I don’t smoke, so I’ll pass on the free pot, but I could use a new bike and a kitty as long as it’s already in the budget. All of the non-joke things seem like good ideas.
According to this press release from King County, that budget includes:
- A $500,000 Catalyst Fund to lead the transformation of the regional health and human service system from reactive crisis response to proactive preventive strategies and services. These one-time funds are intended to kick start the best new ideas and advances, attract other investments and revenue sources, and lead to better outcomes, particularly in the treatment of those with mental health and addiction issues.
- A two-year Regional Veterans Initiative to embark upon the first-ever comprehensive mapping of the labyrinth of federal, state and local services for veterans. Programs and community agencies would be connected to a King County Veteran Services Network so that vets seeking services can immediately be directed to the right program, and all agencies can use the same assessment and screening tools. The project is funded with $388,000 from the voter-approved Veterans and Human Services Levy.
- Support for the community-wide campaign to enroll 180,000 uninsured adults who will become newly eligible for free or low-cost health coverage on October 1 under the Affordable Care Act – connecting them to effective preventive care early, rather than expensive treatment later.
Among other solid spending. Of course there’s a long way to go between this and City/County Council approval. But as the great recession ends, it’s nice to see proposed budgets that aren’t all pain.