by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
| Aug 17, 2020
This letter was sent to City of Seattle officials on August 17.
Mayor Durkan and Members of the Seattle City Council,
With the City Council's amending of their spending plan yesterday in CB 119860, we are writing to ask that Seattle's leadership work together to get the critical supports within that bill in the hands of those who need it as soon as possible. Let us not let our commitment to Seattle's small businesses waver precisely when it is needed most.
We understand and appreciate your caution as the City's leaders in how the rainy day fund is treated. Right now it is the rainiest of days. Small business are on the brink of disappearing, taking with them the precious jobs, the culture of our neighborhoods, and tax revenue that the City so desperately needs. We certainly wish that the Small Business Stabilization Fund could be increased by an order of magnitude, but the funding allocated in this bill is what we have to work with in a time when everything is stretched to the limit.
GSBA worked for months to help craft spending packages that would provide the assistance that Seattle's small business need right now. The Small Business Stabilization Fund in particular is the most needed piece of that - flexible cash grants. Consistently across all surveys, our small businesses say that this flexible cash is what they need above all else. With the restrictions imposed by the Washington State Constitution, we understand that the funding available for this purpose is also quite limited. That is why the funds allocated as part of CB 119860 are so essential.
Our small businesses are in dire straits. We know that the Small Business Stabilization Fund will only be able to help a fraction of applicants, but that help is vital. The other buckets of emergency relief are likewise critical for some of the neediest populations in Seattle - housing assistance, food security, support for immigrants and refugees who have been denied other government assistance. The rainy day fund is for emergencies, and this certainly qualifies as the greatest of emergencies. If this assistance does not arrive for those in need, we fear that its intended recipients - and especially our small businesses - may not be around for the next round of budget debates.
Thank you for your efforts to steward the City through perhaps the most difficult budget cycle of its history. We urge you all to implement the appropriated relief funding as intended, to deliver critical support now when it is most needed.
GSBA President & CEO