SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle City Council has thwarted a rare veto by Mayor Jenny Durkan by voting for a second time to create a special fund for the city’s soda-tax revenue.
The Seattle Times reports that Monday’s vote was 6-3. Six votes are needed to override a mayoral veto.
The new tax raised about $22 million last year, more than initially predicted, and the mayor and councilmembers disagree on how to spend it.
When the Council passed the tax in 2017, it indicated the money should be used to boost healthful-food and early-education programs serving low-income communities of color that are targeted by soda marketing. But when the mayor drew up this year’s budget, she used about $6 million from the soda tax to supplant baseline allocations for food banks, a parent-child program and other services that previously had been supported by the city’s general fund. The maneuver freed up $6 million for her other priorities.
The Council voted 7-1 on July 22 to allocate the soda-tax revenue through its own fund. Durkan told the Council not to create its own fund, warning that would open a hole in next year’s budget.