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Governor announces $100 million plan for business support, unemployment insurance rate reduction

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In a press conference on Dec. 17, Gov. Jay Inslee released his budget proposal for the coming biennium that included some support for the hospitality industry.

With the federal coronavirus relief funds running out, the governor urged legislators in January to quickly approve an additional $100 million in grants to assist struggling businesses. The proposal also includes a reduction to the projected increase in unemployment insurance taxes. Businesses like yours begin receiving unemployment insurance rate increase notices on Dec. 18, and this proposal would reduce the cost those letters describe. The Washington Hospitality Association will continue to work on a plan to address unemployment insurance rates. If you receive an unemployment insurance rate increase letter, please scan it and send it to Julia Gorton, director of State Government Affairs for the association, to help on this issue.

The governor also proposed a capital gains tax, a Working Families Tax Credit for workers, increasing the weekly unemployment benefit amount, workforce training, more staffing at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and a new infectious disease standard for the workplace.

Read more details of the governor’s proposal here. 

Read the official report on the budget and policy here.

Association President and CEO Anthony Anton said today:

“Hospitality is the industry hardest hit by the pandemic and the state’s response to it, which is why we’ve urged and will continue to urge Gov. Jay Inslee and the legislature to make relief for our industry an early priority in the 2021 session.

We’re encouraged by the governor’s commitment to pass an additional $100 million in relief for our industry in first weeks of session, and we look forward to working with lawmakers, not just to hold the governor accountable to this commitment, but to build upon it. We will continue to remind the public of the scope of the problem. Shutting us down costs our industry $800 million per month.

As we approach the second month of this latest shutdown, we’re nearing a $1.6 billion hole – which will only grow if the current shutdown is extended into January. Emergency relief funds in the first weeks of session are a necessary piece of the solution, but these funds alone are not sufficient to rescue our industry from the brink and provide an adequate path forward to recovery – which is why we’re developing a robust and comprehensive recovery package that we are hopeful the governor and lawmakers will embrace and support.

We’re thankful to hear that lawmakers are working on unemployment insurance rate relief. These rates are set to skyrocket, meaning the industry hardest hit would pay much higher rates to cover costs from mandated shutdowns at a time when we can least afford it. Fixing this is the right thing to do.”