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Seattle's incoming mayor pushes back at City Council's proposed police cuts

Bruce Harrell in a suit and tie.
Elaine Thompson
The Associated Press
Bruce Harrell

Seattle’s mayor-elect is criticizing a City Council plan to cut $10 million from the city’s police budget, saying voters just endorsed his plan to prioritize public safety.

The Seattle Times reports Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda introduced her proposed balanced budget package Tuesday afternoon, suggesting the council make the cuts to the budget Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed in September.

“By releasing today’s budget, we hope that what you see is significant investments and a vision for a more equitable, just safe, healthy and housed Seattle,” she said.

Since Durkan proposed her original $7.1 billion budget in September, the city’s projected revenue for 2022 fell by $15 million, as large employers announced they would continue with remote work through early 2022, exempting employees from a city payroll tax.

To offset the revenue decline, Mosqueda focused on cutting the police budget to preserve the council’s priorities of addressing affordable housing, homelessness and criminal justice reform.

Current Mayor Jenny Durkan criticized Mosqueda’s proposal, blaming recent staffing problems in SPD on the council. She said the proposal failed to prioritize public safety.

Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell also criticized the proposal in a statement, saying the results of last week’s election — in which Harrell was easily elected over progressive City Council President M. Lorena González — show the city’s desire for public safety.

“Last Tuesday, the voters of Seattle resoundingly and unambiguously rejected defunding the police,” Harrell said.

A final budget vote is expected Nov. 22.