Inslee signs $2.2B relief package to support schools, businesses, renters and immigrants | KNKX

Inslee signs $2.2B relief package to support schools, businesses, renters and immigrants

Feb 19, 2021
Originally published on February 19, 2021 1:32 pm

A fresh round of federal aid will soon be flowing to Washington businesses and individuals hit hard by the COVID pandemic.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a $2.2 billion relief package funded with money approved by Congress in December.

The package includes:

  • $716M for schools to help return to in-person learning and address student learning loss
  • $618M for public health, including vaccine administration
  • $365M for rental assistance
  • $290M for small business and childcare provider grants
  • $70M to replenish the state’s immigrant workers relief fund
  • $26M for food assistance

According to the Office of Financial Management, the business and rental assistance will be available beginning in mid-March.

Also Friday, Inslee signed into law a measure to exempt federal emergency assistance grants from the state’s business and occupation tax. That’s expected to save Washington businesses more than $200 million, according to the state Senate.

A third bill signed into law by Inslee on Friday will free up an additional $400 million for the state’s federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. This is accomplished by shifting the cost of COVID-related Medicaid rate enhancements and incentives away from the relief fund and instead paying for those enhancements and incentives with other sources of state and federal money.

The new $2.2 billion relief package follows the federal CARES Act which sent approximately $3 billion to the state of Washington last year. About $1 billion of that went to local governments while Inslee decided how to spend the other roughly $2 billion. This time around, state lawmakers – not Inslee --decided how to spend the funds because the Legislature was back in session.

Copyright 2021 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.