CARES ACT vs. WA Immigrant Relief Fund–Equal Distribution?
A total of $10 million dollars of WA state money has been made available during the COVID 'crisis' to small businesses in WA state; namely those who are not directly tied to major corporate entities.
It was through the Working Washington program, and it ended up assisting about 1,100 businesses total. However, whether it's a 20-man ten-truck plumbing outfit, or a four person espresso stand, there's at least 650,000 small businesses (based upon licenses) in our state.
By comparison, on August 12, when Inslee created the Immigration Relief Act (IRA), some $40 million in CARES Federal relief funds were used to provide assistance to undocumented workers, mostly in the agriculture and food production industries. That's four times what was offered to help businesses.
The money, according to a report in the Seattle Times dated August 12, came from a Federal pool of CARES funds NOT tied to any immigration or documentation status requirements. This has not gone unnoticed by business owners and workers.
Inslee defended the program as helping those who were not eligible for CARES Act money due to their immigration status. WA and CA are the only states who enacted programs such as this.
How does the IRA compare to CARES funding when it comes to assisting workers?
For the typical CARES family, according to the US Treasury, it provides $1,200 for families whose income was less than $99K (or $198K for joint filers) and $400 for each child under 17. The cap is at $3400 per family. So a 'typical family' of four would see $2000, a family with three children under 17 would get $2400.
The IRA provides $1000 grants for each family member, capped at $3000 per family. In addition to this, a number of advocacy groups around the state has donated or raised nearly another million dollars that has been distributed to a variety of undocumented workers and business owners.
So if a CARES family has a large number of under 17 age children, the scale tips in their favor. But the base of the program does clearly favor the undocumented workers. While a CARES family could see up to $3400, they would have to have six under 17 children to get to that amount. That's a lot of family expenditures.
Inslee has come under criticism for the ethics of largely ignoring small business relief, and using Federal funding for undocumented or illegal workers.