More information on the proposed $50 million in business assistance

By: Emily Makings
12:09 pm
November 20, 2020

On Sunday, Gov. Inslee announced $50 million in aid for businesses but provided few details. Joseph O’Sullivan of the Seattle Times reports that the $50 million will come from the state’s share of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).

The governor has not formally made the allocation, but he has shared his plan with the Legislature. According to the proposal from the governor (dated Nov. 17), $20 million “will be provided for expenses, including (but not limited) to rent, mortgage and utility assistance, to help prevent permanent closure of businesses. Commerce will prioritize businesses owned by black, indigenous, and people of color.” On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce said, “Information about eligibility and maximum grant amounts will be available within the next two weeks.”

Additionally, $30 million will go to a loan program for small businesses and nonprofits. Loan terms would be five years, with low or no interest. The hope is that this funding “will help leverage capital from lenders.” According to the Department of Commerce, “This is a new program that will take some time to establish.”

(The Nov. 17 proposal also includes $20 million for residential rent assistance and $15 million for household energy assistance.)

This $50 million will be on top of $20 million allocated for small business assistance in June.

At the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting on Wednesday, David Schumacher, the director of the Office of Financial Management, said that the state has about $200 million left of its CRF share. That includes formal allocations and proposals for use of the funds. (I’ll have more on this in another blog post.)

Schumacher said, about businesses, “We’ve been taking care of them as much as we can all along. This $50 million isn’t the first money that we’ve targeted to helping businesses; it won’t be the last.” Similarly, the Department of Commerce noted, “The state is also assessing if any additional CARES Act funding remains and could be distributed to businesses before the funds expire on Dec. 31.” The governor is expected to talk about economic relief at his press conference this afternoon.

Categories: Budget , Economy.
Tags: CARES Act , COVID-19 , state action on COVID-19