Washington State Legislative Session
The legislative session is nearing the three-quarters mark and budget-writing is in full swing. We continue to watch budget proposals as they come out. The revenue forecast was released last Monday and will guide spending over the next two years. Revenues remain healthy but are forecast to decrease, which is why we’ll continue advocating for the state to build up its reserves.
City of Tacoma
President & CEO Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
Last Thursday, March 23rd, we attended an open house hosted by The Village Senior Living in Tacoma and helped them celebrate their Grand Reopening with a ribbon cutting! Everyone who attended was treated to live jazz music, and art demonstration, incredible food and beverages prepared by The Village's culinary team, and tours of the recently-remodeled facility. It was an honor to be a part of this incredible event!
View photos from the event below.
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber CEO and President Andrea Reay visited Olympia this past Friday to testify in support of Washington’s 2023 Middle Housing Bill (E2SHB 1110). This bill, if successful, will open the door for more housing options for hundreds of thousands of families in Washington State, including right here in the South Sound. The bill seeks to “increase middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family housing.” This would set the stage for more affordable, dynamic housing options that are much needed in our region.
In her testimony before the Senate on Friday, Andrea Reay stated “Housing is a cornerstone for building an equitable economic ecosystem and the lack of housing makes it harder to attract and retain talent as we are still very much in a workforce shortage. We all know that production has not kept up with demand and we need creative solutions to this complex problem now to ensure we are able to continue to build generational wealth in and for the South Sound and the state.”
A representative from the Washington Department of Commerce also gave testimony in support of the bill. The legislation is also supported by the Association of Washington Business, the statewide chamber of commerce for Washington.
The Washington Department of Commerce recently released its housing needs projections showing that Washington will need to add over a million new homes over the next 20 years to meet population demand. This is a critical issue at play for our business community.
“37% of Washington State Employers report the lack of housing as a top priority,” Reay shared in her testimony, “Our state has the fewest number of housing units per household of any state in the county. Over the last 30 years, our population has grown by 60% but the number of housing units has increased by only 33%. We know we will need between 20,000 and 71,000 new housing units per year over the next 30 years to keep up with growth.”
The bill accounts for various factors such as the population size of cities, proximity to public transit, and unit affordability in determining what types of middle housing developments should be allowed in different areas throughout the state. You can learn the specific details and view the most recent version of the bill here.
From our CEO on behalf of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, “The coalition of supporters is broad, the legislation is a step in the right direction, the time is now, and I strongly urge your support.”
Our March Chamber After Hours was a blast! Thank you to Dancing Goats Coffee in Tacoma for hosting this fun event. Our members enjoyed a great night of networking and enjoying delicious food and beverages. Every Chamber After Hours is special, and this one was no different. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!
This past Tuesday, March 14th, we joined Pure Infusion Suites in Tacoma to celebrate their new clinic location with a ribbon-cutting! Thank you to Pure Infusion Suites for having us be part of their celebration and to everyone in our business community who showed up to make this such a great event.
March is shaping up to be a month full of financial opportunities for businesses! Explore 3 new funding opportunities currently open or opening soon for small businesses. Take a few minutes to learn about these opportunities, get your paperwork in order, and mark your calendar with the application deadlines. Don't miss out on the chance to earn money to help your business thrive!
BACKING SMALL BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM (Application open March 20 - April 7)
Main Street America and American Express are presenting the second year of the Backing Small Business grant program. 350 small business grants of $5,000 are available to businesses at least 51% owned by women, veterans, people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and refugees operating businesses in historic commercial districts. This includes historic downtowns, main streets, and other commercial districts. Other eligibility requirements apply. Application window opens March 20, 2023. Learn more.
WASHINGTON HOSPITALITY GRANTS (Opening March 14)
The Washington State Department of Commerce is opening applications this month for Washington Hospitality Grants to support eligible restaurants, bars, lodging, and other qualifying businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. More information will be made available soon and the application window is set to open March 2023. Learn more here about this opportunity. You can also register to attend a free informational webinar about this program on March 13, 2023.
DIGITAL SALES ACCESS PROGRAM TACOMA (Application OPEN NOW)
The Digital Sales Access Program (DSAP), made possible by Kay Tita, aims to help 65 Tacoma-based business owners grow their businesses through increased e-commerce capacity, social media marketing, improved digital literacy, greater financial awareness, and a connection to a reliable community. Chosen applicants will receive a free point-of-sale system for their business, $1,000 in Google ads, a 6-month online Quickbooks subscription, a 12-month Square online website subscription, and more. Learn more.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.