Support Washington Main Street!

Dear [title] [last name],

I am writing in support of the Washington State Main Street Program and asking you to bolster its network of 66 local Main Street programs across the state–ranging from Vancouver to Colville, Dayton to Port Townsend. Washington Main Street is a major driver of downtown revitalization, economic development, and community placemaking in Washington State. 2020 proved, in more ways than one, that Main Street was built for economic recovery and small business support. Not only is Main Street the most effective economic recovery tool our communities have, it is also a proven positive return on investment. For every dollar the State of Washington has allocated to WSMSP, the economic activity attributable to Main Street Communities has generated $1.58 back to the state in tax revenues. That’s a 58% return on investment.

I urge you to build on this proven approach by including the following measures in the budget for the 2021-2023 biennium:

Funding for increased economic recovery services to support the stability of local Main Street organizations and small business retention. I encourage you to increase funding for the Washington State Main Street Program (administered by the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation) to $350,000 annually so it can ramp up direct recovery services to communities across the state.

Enhancements to the tax credit program to increase local funding for Main Street organizations. Local Main Street programs are lifelines to our state’s small businesses and critical economic recovery leaders. There is already an economically viable (positive fiscal return for the state) financing program established in Washington State through which Main Street Communities currently meet 25-75% of their operating budgets: the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program. Enhancing this existing program will allow sustainable local funding that doesn’t put Main Streets in competition with small businesses or other nonprofit organizations. I encourage you to increase the overall cap of the MSTCIP to $4,000,000 in tax credits to allow more Washington businesses to reap the benefit of contributing to Main Street-led recovery efforts.

A new capital grant program to directly support small businesses and historic property owners on Main Street. A new capital grant program for commercial buildings in Main Street Districts would support small businesses and assist in recovery efforts by providing funds for COVID-related safety improvements, restorations, and physical improvements to their properties. This initiative would support both construction jobs and improve employment conditions for the small businesses that will benefit directly from the capital projects this grant will support. I encourage you to support the creation of this program by including $5 million in funding to create the Main Street Capital Grant Program in your budget.

Now is the time to activate the power of the Washington Main Street network to help support economic recovery, small businesses, and community building across our state. I urge you to support the measures above to ensure the resilience, endurance, and recovery of our communities in this difficult time.

Thank you for your consideration,

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