Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we continue moving forward in this crisis, we want you to know that our thoughts and well wishes are constantly with you. As your state representatives, we continue to do everything in our power to help Washingtonians in the 18th District and throughout the state find answers and maintain hope.
We also want to thank Washington citizens everywhere who have sacrificed so much to help flatten the curve. We should also be encouraged to continue practicing safe behavior, and we should reopen the economy with clear guidelines that are developed with our medical community. There is no reason to be careless, but plenty of reason to be careful.
We do not take the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its deadly effects lightly. Every single life matters. No one is just a number and no matter your age, race, gender, or beliefs, we sincerely feel the loss of every person who has died. No amount of deaths is acceptable. Our hearts truly go out to all who have lost loved ones, and our prayers are with you.
At the same time, we are also concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering a financial crisis because of the economic shutdown. This loss is also felt throughout the state and we know that many people are losing hope.
More than 1.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits in Washington state from April 19 to April 25. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have shut their doors due to the social distancing measures put in place by the governor; many will never reopen. And the projected revenue forecast shows Washington could face a reduction in state revenues of $7 billion through mid-2023 due to the coronavirus crisis.
While the possible reduction of $7 billion is a lot of money, what it represents is more important. It is much more than just finding efficiencies in government; it means real impacts to the services that many of our neighbors rely on. It is highly anticipated that we will be called back to Olympia for a special session at some point this year, to deal with the economic fallout.
Republican lawmakers have offered numerous ideas and plans to help the state reopen safely and get our people back to work. Here are just a few:
- Convene a Restart Task Force comprising legislative leaders, relevant executive-branch directors and representatives of the business and organized-labor communities.
- Fully disclose the “metrics” that must be met before the business-closure order can be lifted or amended. Knowing the standards will allow the people of Washington to act accordingly.
- Forgive first-quarter small-business B&O taxes for 2020 and allow deferral of remaining quarterly taxes to the end of 2020. It makes more sense for state government to assist employers through this difficult time, so they can return to becoming regular taxpayers, than to see employers fail and drop off the tax rolls completely.
- Increase the small-business tax credit to exempt businesses with annual gross receipts of an amount to be determined. You can read more about these plans by clicking here.
The economic fallout from the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is very real. The inability to earn a living has not only affected people's income and their ability to pay their bills, but it has also threatened their livelihoods, life savings, and retirement.
The emotional and mental fallout is also very real. Hundreds of thousands of people are feeling increased stress and anxiety due to lost income. And with so many other things to worry about – the fear of getting the virus, having to educate children, and not being able to leave home – mental health experts are warning that this could lead to a major increase of mental health issues.
We need to get Washingtonians back to work to save our economy and our people. We fully understand that lifting all restrictions throughout the state in one fell swoop would be irresponsible and we are not calling for a general statewide reopening. But we do think individual counties should be able to reopen at the pace that best fits their specific circumstances.
This is not a political battle between Republicans and Gov. Inslee. In fact, several Democrat lawmakers have joined the call to see their counties reopened at a quicker pace. Clearly, the economic impact of the shutdown is bipartisan. We want to work together to find the answers that are best for ALL of Washington.
We have been and will continue to work with medical professionals to come up with the safest and most realistic plan to reopen as we move forward. We are elected to make the tough decisions for the people that we represent, using the best available data and talent. We will continue to do that.
At the same time, we must find a way to prevent hundreds of thousands of people from falling into financial ruin. And we must focus on public health and the economy at the same time. We can start returning to work safely and begin the economic recovery now. Our state's long-term future depends on it.
Plans for the Interim
We also want to let you know this will be our last update for several months, unless we're called to a special session. Due to election year restrictions, we cannot send any updates until after the November election is certified by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. However, you can still contact us with questions, concerns, and input.
As your state representatives, we are still available to meet with you either in-person, when the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” restrictions are lifted, or over the phone. So please continue to reach out to us to share your input.
Stay safe, be healthy, and know that we are still working for you all year long.
It's an honor to serve!
To read this email update in another language, visit my website and click on the red “TRANSLATE” button in the lower left-hand corner to select your language.
Helpful Coronavirus Resources and Information
House Republican Caucus coronavirus website. This site is a comprehensive list of resources and I'd encourage you to bookmark it for easy access.
- Government emergency actions
- You & Your Family
- Travelers & Commuters
- Business & Workers
- Local Health Departments
- Childcare / K-12 / Higher Education
Employment Security Department:
- For workers and businesses affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) — including the self-employed and independent contractors
- Sign up for COVID-19 action alerts for updates
- COVID-19 | Scenarios & Benefits Available
U.S. Small Business Administration:
- Disaster Loan Assistance: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application
- SBA COVID19 Disaster Loan Program Open for Applications
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- SBA Products and Resources
- Government Contracting
- Local Assistance
Department of Commerce:
- Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants | Apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Department of Labor:
Department of Revenue:
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Update
- COVID-19 Related Relief for Taxpayers.
- Requesting Relief.
- Temporary Business Registrations.
- Online Filing and Call Center Assistance.
Department of Financial Institutions:
Department of Labor & Industries:
- Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
- Workers' Compensation Coverage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave: