King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted an emergency spending package today to the King County Council that would continue the County’s critical COVID-19 response efforts, including leasing isolation sites and providing alternatives to shelters. The appropriation request also supports small businesses and advances future lodging revenues for tourism and arts.
To continue and expand COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, Executive Constantine proposed a $57 million emergency supplemental budget, to be funded by federal, state, and local revenue, to the King County Council. It is the second supplemental budget submitted during the pandemic. On March 10, the King County Council passed a $49 million omnibus spending measure.
The proposed ordinance includes:
• COVID-19 response to continue leasing sites to isolate patients in treatment and recovery and providing hotel rooms and other alternatives to local shelters. Additional funds are also requested to provide security, janitorial services, and utilities at the sites. $33 million.
• Invests in communities by providing funds for small businesses, supporting community-based organizations to provide outreach to the communities on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak, and also tapping into hotel/motel taxes that must, by County ordinance, support tourism promotion, arts and culture, and programs that help homeless youth. $16 million (including $13 million from hotel/motel tax funds).
The $2 million in small business support includes language services to help business owners apply for aid, as well as technical assistance to identify programs and services offered by local banks, chambers of commerce, and other community groups.
The funding request also includes grants up to $5,000 for businesses in unincorporated King County that employ 15 employees or less, with gross revenues of less than $1.5 million that have been in business for at least three years. The program is focused on helping small businesses in all areas of the county that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and especially those in economically distressed areas.
The King County Department of Local Services will be managing the small business support programs, with input from the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice.
To help the region’s tourist industry bounce-back and ensure the hotel/motel tax revenue remains strong in the future, Executive Constantine is proposing to advance $8 million for a tourism campaign designed to promote tourism in King County after the health crisis has passed.
To make sure cultural groups can survive and continue to contribute to the life of the community, Executive Constantine also proposes to allocate $2 million to 4Culture to support local arts, culture, and heritage organizations. An additional $2 million for science, arts education, and live music venues will support other needs in the creative economy throughout King County.
In addition, the proposed supplemental appropriations request includes $1 million for organizations providing programs to homeless youth. A portion of this funding would support organizations serving homeless youth outside Seattle, and a separate portion of this funding would be contributed to the Washington State Student and Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Response Fund, in partnership with Building Changes, the Raikes Foundation and other funders.
“We must do all we can to help our small businesses and arts and cultural organizations emerge from this crisis alive and well, ready to put thousands of people back to work and unite us through the recovery. Similarly, we need to help jump-start our hard-hit visitor industry, which supports thousands more jobs and is a vital part of our regional economy. By wisely leveraging lodging tax revenues we can accomplish these goals, and preserve some of what makes this region so special,” said Executive Constantine. “I am also proposing to include funds for homeless youth, bolstering our work to help vulnerable teens reach adulthood healthy and ready to live full, productive lives.”
We must do all we can to help our small businesses and arts and cultural organizations emerge from this crisis alive and well, ready to put thousands of people back to work and unite us through the recovery. Similarly, we need to help jump-start our hard-hit visitor industry, which supports thousands more jobs and is a vital part of our regional economy. By wisely leveraging lodging tax revenues we can accomplish these goals, and preserve some of what makes this region so special. I am also proposing to include funds for homeless youth, bolstering our work to help vulnerable teens reach adulthood healthy and ready to live full, productive lives.
Working in partnership, our tourism and cultural sectors bring some 40 million visitors and $8 billion in spending to the region every year. They fill our hotel rooms, restaurants, and entertainment venues, employ tens of thousands of workers, and generate more than $800 million in tax revenue to fund essential public services like affordable housing and behavioral health support. Now they need our help. This proposal is an investment in bringing business and jobs back to our region. It does so by supporting the industries and organizations that make the greater Seattle area one of the most popular destinations — and places to live — in the world. We can’t afford to lose what makes our region so special, and this step is part of ensuring that we won’t.
This proposal is exactly what’s needed to get visitors back to our region, restore lost jobs, and reinvigorate our economy. It will help our small businesses and our tourism and hospitality industries -- our hotels, restaurants, retail, convention and event centers – recover and get people to come here again when safe. It also will help our stellar arts and culture organizations, such as our performing venues, galleries, museums, science and heritage organizations, reopen when safe, and bring back our artists and musicians, stage hands, zoo, aquarium and science center workers, and the thousands of others who contribute to our region’s being a top place for drawing visitors as well as for bringing joy into our lives. Additionally, it will pave the way to bring in the revenue needed to secure more affordable housing and homelessness services, and help vulnerable youth get into safe spaces. I appreciate Executive Constantine’s vision and his sending us this essential and well-thought out proposal.
For more information, contact:
Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966