Weekly Reader

Friday, April 24, 2020

Economic Development
Here is the latest from the Kauffman Foundation, “New and small businesses are at extreme risk in this COVID-19 crisis: Nearly half don’t have the financial reserves to last more than a few weeks, and more than a quarter are unprofitable. While policymakers across the country are discussing how to stabilize the economy, if entrepreneurs don’t have a prominent seat at the table, we’ll get bureaucratic solutions favoring big business, and policies that continue to leave behind the women, minorities, and rural residents. Our goal shouldn’t be to just restore the economy, but to rebuild better by ensuring all Americans – especially entrepreneurs who have historically been marginalized by investors and lenders — can turn their ideas into businesses.” Here is information on America’s new business.

“We don’t have to know all the answers. We just have to be open to trying new ideas.” Becky  McCray

In March, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers fell 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.5 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.1 percent in March (SA); up 2.1 percent over the year (NSA).

Summary of SBA and other resources.

The CWCOG Board of Directors approved the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Update at its meeting on April 23.

Transportation
CWCOG staff held its annual Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) meeting with WSDOT, ODOT, FHWA FTA and local partners to review the draft UPWP. The CWCOG Board of Directors will consider the final UPWP in May.

As discussions were building toward the passage of PHASE 4 of a stimulus package, the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) recently sent the letter at this link to Transportation Secretary Chao requesting that the Administration and the USDOT take action to provide much needed regulatory relief and guidance.

According to RollCall.com “While Congress has focused much of its coronavirus relief legislation on helping struggling airlines, state highway officials are worried about another crisis on the horizon: plummeting gas tax revenues as most Americans stay at home. The federal government largely pays for its roads, bridges and transit through the Highway Trust Fund, supported by federal gas and diesel tax revenue. In January, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the fund, which already relies on regular infusions from general Treasury accounts to stay afloat, would run out of money in 2021. But the coronavirus — and the stay-at-home orders keeping people off the roads — may speed that timeline, say analysts. Concerns about transportation systems spurred the National Governors Association to request $500 billion in aid from Congress as well as the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials to request $50 billion in forthcoming coronavirus-related spending bills”. Click here for the story.

Community Development / Other
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office proposes reducing an applicant’s match for 2020 parks and recreation grants from a 50% contribution to 25%:

  • Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account
  • Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program: Local Parks, Trails, and Water Access categories only
  • Youth Athletic Facilities

RCO is requesting feedback on this policy via a short survey (takes less than 2 minutes) here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RCOMatchProposal. They have a short timeline to gather feedback please respond ASAP. If you have policy or related questions, please email adam.cole@rco.wa.gov.  If you need technical assistance taking the survey, please email brent.hedden@rco.wa.gov.

COVID-19 Resources
The Census Bureau has received emergency approval from OMB to email/text an online survey relating to COVID 19. The survey could go to 13.8M homes over 12 weeks to measure employment, spending, food/housing security, education disruptions, physical/mental wellbeing during COVID-19 pandemic. People in the U.S. may start receiving an official Census Bureau email or text like this about the new “Household Pulse Survey” as early as this week.

Other Resources
Governor’s COVID 19 Recovery Plan
Census COVID 19 Resource Page

Federal Agency COVID-19 Resources