Talking points: This is an overview of the growth of city expenditures from the 1990 city budget. The numbers are adjusted on a per capita basis but the population line is in there for reference anyways. Note how expenditures outpace inflation, but stay reasonably close to personal income growth. This is not due to a larger number of city employees – the number of city employees has actually gone down steadily on a per capita basis. Sources: Population estimates are from the Washington State Office of Financial Management. Consumer Price Index numbers come from US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Personal income growth comes from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. City FTE and budget numbers come from annual budget books.
Talking points: This shows the expenditure numbers adjusted for both inflation and for population growth. Note there still is significant growth.King County personal income growth from 1990-2008 in 2009 dollars saw a 31% growth. (2009 numbers for King County not yet released.)
Talking points: These pie charts show how the city divides up its general fund – the main portion the Council deals with. Over half are public safety expenses. The general point here is that the proportions show that city functions have not changed dramatically over the last 20 years.Numbers taken from city budget documents.
Talking points: These are the same pie charts for the total funds now, which includes the utilities and capital projects. Note that transportation and utilities are by far the largest slice. But again, not a lot of significant variation over the years.Numbers taken from city budget documents.
Talking points: Since most of the general fund is made up of labor costs it is appropriate to try to break those down. These numbers are for departments that perform general government operations; in other words it excludes the utilities.When adjusted for inflation, city salary payments in these departments have risen 16%. During the corresponding period, total city FTEs (and this figure includes the utilities) have only risen 2%.Due to accounting changes the benefits numbers are not rock-solid but are about as good as we can get. Included under benefits include health care premiums, pension payments, bus passes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and other ancillary benefits. Health care costs have gone up and the cost of providing city employee transit passes have also shot up in the past couple of years.SOURCE: Data supplied by Brandon Johns, DEA.
Talking points: A good slide if you questioned the need for serious health care reform. Like most businesses, the city has seen a steady rise in the amount we pay for health premiums. We’ll see if the new federal health care legislation will help arrest this trend.SOURCE: Data supplied by Brandon Johns, DEA.
Talking points: Turning now to the revenue side.
Talking points: Moving to the revenue side we see a similar story. Tax revenue has outpaced inflation, but tracks closely with personal income growth.Sources: Consumer Price Index numbers come from US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Personal income growth comes from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.Total general fund tax revenue provided by George Emerson, Department of Finance.Total tax revenue numbers come from the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs).
Talking points: Here is a look at the same revenue numbers, this time adjusted for inflation as well as for population growth.
Talking points: Here are the same numbers as they correlate to personal income. General fund taxes have remained relatively steady, though there is a growth in total tax revenue in the past 5 years. Total tax revenue includes funds from voter-approved levies and taxes earmarked for capital projects like the commercial parking tax and the employee hours tax while it was still around. The recent growth shows a greater emphasis on city infrastructure improvements.Looking at these numbers raises an interesting question of how we view government: should government provide baseline services or do we treat it as a “good” in economic terms? In other words when we are more well-off do we want more from our government? I think we like to tell ourselves we hold the former view, when often we hold the latter. When we’re more comfortable we want better parks, more public safety, more arts in our city. It’s when there are down economic times that we revert to the former view, asking why government has expanded so much.This does not mean there aren’t places in the city government where efficiencies can be found, but it is an interesting question to reflect on.
Talking points: This chart shows a trend in different general fund taxes. A point of clarification: this tracks the growth of total revenue in terms of dollars, these figures do not correspond directly to tax rates. The light blue line in the middle is the total general fund tax revenue.Property tax continues to supply the largest growth. More recently public utilities taxes have shot up in part because as a Council that is an easier revenue option to draw from. The public experiences it through an increase in utilities rates and these rates are still very competitive in our region.Sources: General fund tax breakdown provided by George Emerson, Department of Finance.
Talking points: As the fastest growing component, it’s appropriate to take a closer look at the property tax. These charts show just where your property tax dollars go. The smaller slices on the City pie chart are voter-approved pieces.Source:2010 Adopted Budget, p. 30.
Talking points: This shows the cumulative totals of voter-approved levy lid lifts. The fatter the shape, the larger the levy. It does not include voter-approved bond measures like the Libraries for All Bond measure – those measures are less frequent and their totals more constant over time.If voters feel fatigued with new levy proposals, this shows why. But one can’t make a blanket statement that the story is purely one of government expansion. We as citizens and voters have - in part - brought this on ourselves. (See next slide.)Source: Data provided by Dave Hennes, FAS. Note: Not adjusted to per capita.
Talking points: When Washington State approved Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747 to cap property tax increases, municipalities have been forced to turn to the citizens for funding. This is government a la carte. Is it a good thing? It depends on who you ask. It raises another interesting question about how we view the role of government and how much we trust our government.Source: Data provided by Dave Hennes, FAS.Note: not adjusted to per capita.
Seattle Budget Trends 1990-2010
Taking the Long View:City of Seattle Budget Trendsfrom 1990 to 2010Prepared September, 2010<br />1<br />Tim Burgess<br />Seattle City Councilmember<br />
Voter-approved Property Tax Levy Lid-Lifts in 2009 Dollars<br />15<br />
City General Expense Levy and Voter-approved Property Tax Levy Lid-Lifts in 2009 Dollars<br />In 2001, Initiative 747 capped general property tax increases at 1% each year.<br />Note: The combined total is not a sum total of all City property taxes. It excludes property taxes paid to the City to cover voter-approved bond debt service payments.<br />16<br />