We're committed to connecting young people across Washington State with small business owners in their communities to learn what is needed for COVID-19 relief. We aim to have Washington State youth act on behalf of small businesses advocating for that relief from local governments to the Washington State Legislature.
FW'S PRINCIPLES OF LIMITED
GOVERNMENT SMALL BUSINESS ACTIVISM
1: Connect students with small business owners in their communities to understand the consequential impacts of the COVID-19 shutdown.
2: Write to city council members, county commission (or council) members, and state lawmakers on your thoughts for relief based on the information you learned director from small business owners.
3: If possible, attend in-person meetings of your local councils and speak during public comment periods. (If your committees are meeting virtually, learn where they are meeting at and participate from home on your device.)
4: Schedule a meeting with your state lawmaker and talk to them about your thoughts for COVID relief BEFORE the 2021 Legislative session begins in Olympia. (Slated to start January 11, 2021.)
5: Keep track of small business-related legislation between December 2020 and April 2021.
6: If a specific bill is going before a committee on a certain date, check to see if you can make it to the Capitol Campus in Olympia to testify before lawmakers. Remote testimony is also available, mainly for those living in Eastern Washington.
7: Reading on how to testify effectively plus conduct yourself during your visit to Olympia, among other citizen participation logistics.
8: When doing all of these things mentioned above, keep your social media updated on what you are doing! This is mostly a social media campaign, among other things. Tag Forward Washington in your posts, and we will share!
OUR VIEW: STATE
Steps are being taken by the state government to protect small businesses. Governor Jay Inslee instituted the Working Washington Small Businesses Grants program to assist small businesses to restart operations, starting at a $10 million relief fund. Small businesses were able to apply for grants and funding was successfully distributed by mid to late June of 2020. Forward Washington sees success for grant relief to get small businesses back in operation.
State government however will take a loss of about $7 billion in tax revenue by 2023. The biennial budget for 2021-2023 fiscal years will need to see cuts to many state agencies. As much as that sounds bad, it is an opportunity to look for and cut waste in our departments, or forms of operating costs.
SAFE START WASHINGTON
OUR VIEW: SAFE START
Governor Jay Inslee released a 4 phase plan to reopen businesses and organizations across Washington State. Although no time span was given, each county was given the option to apply for variance to reopen. Counties would have had to have fewer than 25 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. Smaller counties with fewer cases have been given the green light to move quickly, while larger-populous counties will end up waiting longer. King County is the only county with an approved modified phased reopening plan.
The issue we find with a one-size-fits all plan to reopen is that counties do not have the ability to make determinations on how they will move forward on reopening. County health officials would know best on how to keep their citizens safe. We're concerned that the state made hasty orders without realizing the unintended consequences that would occur, such as mass unemployment and a state recession. Forward Washington wants to see the phases move quicker and getting people back to work.
OUR VIEW: FEDERAL
Emergency funding relief for small businesses across the United States is critical due to the shutdowns over COVID-19 in many states. Relief is being provided thanks to the CARES Act signed into law by President Donald Trump, and the act contains both the Paycheck Protection Program and the forgiveness of loans by the Small Business Administration. Forgiveness is critical to ensure that small businesses can restart operations without having to worry about making deadlines.
Forward Washington has concerns about economic consequences due to nonexistent money that is being spent for relief. It is true that the national debt will rise at a higher percentage and that the deficit ceiling will be raised by Congress again. However, we expect members of Congress to work towards using a portion of federal revenue to pay off the debt over a period of time each fiscal year.