NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Dozens of seniors from the Chinatown-International District protested at Seattle City Hall on July 22.
Holding signs that read, “Don’t cut our food bank,” the seniors were demonstrating against a law—which Mayor Jenny Durkan promises to veto—that would reserve all money from Seattle’s soda tax in a special fund.
The beverage tax raised $22 million. When Durkan drew up this year’s budget, she used about $6 million in proceeds from that tax to support the general fund, which the council agreed to the arrangement at the time.
Durkan said the law that the City Council passed on July 22 will open up a hole in next year’s budget and would lead to significant cuts to several community programs, including food banks, senior meals, and childcare assistance.
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda called it a “manufactured crisis.” Councilmember Mike O’Brien championed the measure—to commit to the original intent of the soda tax. The vote was 7-1, with only Councilmember Abel Pacheco opposed. Councilmember Debora Juarez was absent.
“I am disappointed,” Durkan said in a statement. “Because the council has refused to … put forward a balanced plan, I will veto this bill.”