This letter was sent on March 11, 2020.
Members of the Washington State congressional delegation,
As Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied business association we wanted to share the dire situation that so many of our 1,400 businesses are currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that social distancing is critical to contain and slow the spread of the virus, but the effective full stop of the entire economy is having an existential crisis on our small businesses. We have never faced a situation like this before – this is worse than the Boeing downturn, the dotcom bust, 9/11, and the Great Recession. Nearly overnight our economy has stopped, and it will have tremendous ripple effects across our society.
We are urging you to do all you can to get cash assistance in the hands of our small businesses as soon as possible. Due to the particulars of Washington State’s constitution, the State and localities are unable to offer this kind of assistance; putting this enormous responsibility on our federal government. As you will see below, many of our businesses will not survive the next two weeks, the length of time it is estimated that SBA loans will take to get to market. Please help Washington’s small businesses find relief with no-interest forgivable loans, grants, and other immediate and material forms of assistance. SBA loans currently are focused on microbusinesses of 5 or fewer employers. These businesses certainly need the assistance fast, but it also leaves out large numbers of businesses who employ a great deal of people, such as restaurants and hospitality oriented businesses.
Regarding the attempts to pass a paid sick leave bill in the Senate, please ensure any financial resources will include both relief for workers and the owners of small businesses. The small businesses are teetering on the brink of disaster right now, and without government support, will not be able to survive or recover on their own. Please don’t give conservatives talking points about the federal government hurting small business. This is the time for your leadership to ensure that our federal agencies, and federal funding and strong federal support steps up to prevent the collapse of our small business economy.
Nothing more clearly demonstrates the terrifying scope of this small business crisis than reading the words from GSBA’s small business members.
President & CEO