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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
5/11/2009  4:26:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Phyllis Shulman, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES 19-PART ACTION PLAN TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Council resolution includes providing relief to small businesses, supporting individuals affected by the recession, and improving the business climate

SEATTLE Acting on recommendations from a result of a series of public meetings with citizens, business owners, community leaders, and experts on the economy, the City Council today approved a resolution designed to ease the effects of the recession on residents and businesses, and to help promote the citys economic recovery.

Introduced by the Councils Committee of the Whole on Economic Recovery, the resolution outlines a range of strategies to provide relief to small businesses, support individuals affected by the economic recession, set priorities for City services, and achieve operational efficiencies. The resolution also calls for refining the mission of the Citys Office of Economic Development to improve Seattles overall business climate, reviewing the citys taxes, fees and utility rates, and investing available resources in actions that will aid recovery.

We are taking action to give a leg up to Seattles economy and position it for a strong recovery, said Richard Conlin, City Council President and Chair of the Economic Recovery Committee of the Whole. We asked citizens, community and business leaders, and economic experts their opinions on what we need to do to make the economy work again. From those conversations we identified a series of actions that will reduce the impact of the recession and position Seattle to jump-start the new, green economy.

Some of the specific actions include using $5 million in federal stimulus monies to provide temporary assistance to people at risk of losing their housing, and exempting about 1,800 small businesses from paying B&O tax by increasing the revenue floor for paying the tax from $80,000 to $100,000 per year. The Council resolution also:

  • Designates the use of some Community Development Block Grant funds to increase loans to small businesses that have been unable to obtain credit elsewhere;
  • Directs the Citys Office of Economic Development to partner with neighborhood Chambers to develop and promote a "Buy Local" campaign;
  • Provides for creating jobs as quickly as possible by continuing to identify shovel-ready projects from the Parks and Green Spaces levy and other City capital plans.

In times of crisis we need to act quickly and act smart. The steps we've outlined can lead to more jobs, and new jobs will be the foundation of our economic recovery," said Councilmember Sally Clark.

Councilmember Jan Drago said, "Small businesses are the heart and soul of our city. The loan program that this legislation provides will give a much-needed boost to small business and help lead us out of the recession."

I am proud of our work and supportive of the economic recovery resolution while also being mindful of the economic times and the need to preserve diminishing tax revenues, said Councilmember Jean Godden.

Local businesses have made me a big believer that they keep the wheels of commerce turning, said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. We must continue to explore policies that assist in their success since they contribute so much to our economy. This legislation is a step in that direction.

Councilmember Nick Licata said, "This is a solid package that will assist the business climate in Seattle, and those most vulnerable to the economic downturn, while helping small businesses to stay viable."

Resolution 31135 can be found on the City Clerks website.

Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Councils website at www.seattle.gov/council. Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on www.seattle.gov/council. Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Kimberly Reason, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at kimberly.reason@seattle.gov.

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