1. Presenting the Eastside Leadership Initiative
Last week, the Bellevue Chamber launched the Eastside Leadership Initiative (ELI), a program that identifies, trains, and matches upcoming community leaders with opportunities to grow and serve on the Eastside.
Through the comprehensive database, ELI participants are matched with training programs, board leadership positions, volunteer opportunities, and connected to a network of other community-minded business leaders. The database is accessible to everyone, participants from Bellevue Chamber member organizations will be assigned a Leadership Mentor and a Leadership Advisor to help them set goals, manage duties, and track progress.
2. Covid Vaccine Tax Credits
American Rescue Plan tax credits are available to small employers providing paid leave to employees receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Small and midsize employers may claim refundable tax credits that reimburse the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations.
The paid leave credits under the ARP are tax credits against the employer's share of the Medicare tax. The tax credits are refundable, which means that the employer is entitled to payment of the full amount of the credits if it exceeds the employer's share of the Medicare tax.
3. Legislature Adjourns, Several Moments Too Late
The Washington State Legislature adjourned on Sunday evening after the last-minute adoption of several significant policies. Despite strong concerns by start-up entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses, lawmakers adopted a 7% capital gains income tax on investment income over $250,00.00. The new tax takes effect in 2023 and includes exemptions for the sale of real estate, timberlands and livestock, and some small businesses. The tax is expected to generate $400 million a year. Notable among the 11th-hour negotiations was the inclusion of language that would make it all but impossible for voters to launch a referendum campaign against the tax. This had been a hotly contested issue, with a narrow majority of lawmakers opposing the attempt to block voters from having a say on this new tax for most of the legislative session. However, over the weekend Senator Anette Cleveland of Vancouver switched sides under extreme pressure from income tax supporters and vote to add language to block a public vote in 2021.
With the state expected to rake in record revenues and over $10 billion in federal aid, many are questioning the need for such a tax - and its constitutionality. A court challenge is widely expected.
For more details on what happened this session in the legislature, see our write-up by the Bellevue Chamber's Olympia Lobbyist, Lyset Cadena.
Read the Reports* >
*End of session summary available Friday, April 30
4. For Small Businesses
The US Small Business Administration continues to offer several relief options to help businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
5. Overlake Medical Center Bandage Ball
May 1-8, 2021
You're invited to join Overlake Medical Center for their largest fundraiser of the year. Despite restrictions on social gatherings, they have a plan for bringing the community together. Beginning May 1, visitors can go to www.bandageball.org for an immersive storytelling experience, including three video stories of Overlake’s impact, an online silent auction, and maybe a surprise or two.