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PNS Daily Newscast - September 29, 2020 


Trump tax revelations point to disparity in nation's tax system; Pelosi and Mnuchin make last-ditch effort at pandemic relief.


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Today's the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio. And a British news show reports a Trump campaign effort to suppress the Black vote in 2016.

Ripples Turn to Waves: WA Small Businesses Weather COVID-19

A survey of Seattle-area small businesses this week found more than 40% might have to close entirely because of fallout from the novel coronavirus. (coolhand1180/Adobe Stock)
A survey of Seattle-area small businesses this week found more than 40% might have to close entirely because of fallout from the novel coronavirus. (coolhand1180/Adobe Stock)
March 18, 2020

SEATTLE -- Small-business owners are on the front lines as the novel coronavirus exacts its economic toll. Washington state businesses have felt sharp and immediate pain since Gov. Jay Inslee's order to close bars and restaurants last week.

Fresh Chalk, a Seattle-based online platform where people share local business recommendations, surveyed business owners and found that 42% say they might go out of business. Liz Pearce, co-founder and chief executive of Fresh Chalk, said the survey also asked how community members can help, and businesses responded by asking folks to press lawmakers on relief from the federal government.

"The small businesses are aware of where the support needs to come," she said, "and they're looking to their customers and people in their areas to help them push those things over the line."

On Tuesday, the White House proposed a stimulus package of about $850 billion, including direct cash payments to Americans.

Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of Main Street Alliance, said small businesses need immediate cash-flow assistance to pay their workers. Her group also wants lawmakers to expand unemployment benefits and paid sick leave, and protect folks' health coverage. However, Ballantyne derided the airline industry's call for a $50 billion bailout since small businesses employ nearly half the country's private workforce.

"If they need a bailout this big," she said, "small businesses need a bailout much larger to keep people in our communities employed, and connected to essential benefits that are going to be necessary during this pandemic."

In these turbulent times, said Fon Spaulding, owner of Kati Vegan Thai, a restaurant in Seattle, said businesses are just looking for guidance.

"If some protocol from [the] state to say that, 'Oh, OK -- first step, do this. Second step, do that,' it would be easy for all of us to follow," she said. "Now, it's like wishing on something that is far away."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA