Leaders On Inslee Business COVID Relief: “Overpromise, Underdelivers”
Business leaders from Pasco to Peninsula, from Walla Walla to White Swan say Inslee's idea of business relief actually supports their calls to end the lockdowns; and re open businesses.
The latest round of business relief from Inslee, $50 million, was unveiled shortly after he shut down gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and restaurants indoor dining. According to Inslee, the total state relief package has now reached $185 million. This does not include CARES Act Federal Funds.
However, only about $100 million of that 185 is directly aimed at business relief. The money is available in loans and grants through the Working Washington plan. The rest of the money went to help pay utility bills for low income citizens, to help undocumented ag workers and other programs.
However, business leaders, and especially GOP House Rep Jim Walsh (Aberdeen) say there will never be enough relief because Inslee (and even the Feds) cannot make up the lost revenue from tens of thousands of small businesses in our state.
In fact, according to Business News Daily, there are just over 698,000 small businesses in WA. This is defined as anyone who has a license, operates an LLC, or otherwise derives their living from a small private enterprise. Whether it's a 100 person titanium metal fab firm, to a 5 person espresso stand, there are that many. They employ at least 1.4 million people.
In the latest round of Working Washington and other 'new' state grants, there were 28,000 businesses who applied. If you divide even the $100 million total by 28,000 (provided they all were able to prove worthiness and need) that averages to about $3,571 per business. Let's half that. Say, only 14,000 qualified and got money. That's still only $7,142.
That may sound like a lot, but when you consider the rents and even loan or bank payments these businesses face, it's a drop in the bucket.
One prominent local Pasco restaurant owner says his rent alone is around $10,000 a month. Restaurants, gyms, and other closed businesses are bleeding away money literally.
The only remedy, they say, is to re open these industries and let them being to generate revenue again. For eating establishments, take out, carry out and even car side don't cut it. The family who runs Sterling's in Tri-Cities says those generate 'extra' revenue, but it's only like icing..it's not the cake which pays the bills.
As Rep Walsh said a while back, Inslee's "great gesture" is designed as a political ploy, and was an overpromise but it underdeliverd. Business leaders say it reinforces how little Inslee understands, or even cares, about small business.