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Clallam County Commissioner’s Presentation February 2021

Update on the start of the WA Legislative Session (Update from Suzi Levine, Commissioner of the Employment Security Dept)

Helping claimants and imposter fraud victims navigate unemployment benefit related taxes

Annually, we send out 1099 tax forms, as claimants need the data to include in their tax filings. This year, that activity is complicated by both the scale of the crisis as well as the criminal fraud attack. Since November, ESD has been working through a project to make this year’s 1099 process as smooth as possible. By the 15th of January we will be kicking off the mailing of 1.2 million 1099’s in order to meet the required January 31st deadline.

As a part of our efforts, we’ve identified two areas to address:

  1. Raising awareness of tax obligations for those claimants who may not have realized that unemployment benefits are taxable as income.
  2. Making sure that victims of fraud do not receive 1099s since they do not have to pay taxes on fraud in their name.

Especially for the first point, attached, you will find a simple and easy-to-use set of instructions that will be sent to all 1099 recipients, along with their 1099 form. It’s targeted to drive people to a specific website (http://esd.wa.gov/1099), eliminate calls to our call center, and, most importantly, reduce claimant fears. We also have a communication plan that will get information and messages out prior to sending out 1099’s – including this email.

On the second point, we have worked diligently to prevent 1099’s from going to imposter fraud victims and have finished a process that will achieve this. That said, we also know that there will be some individuals who were missed in this process and who will need support to get a corrected 1099.

For those who do call the call center, we will have a recorded message that will point them to the website or, if needed, a special number for 1099 claims. We are also pulling staff from other parts of the agency to help with this short-term bump.

Overall, we are ready, but also know that this has the potential to result in an influx to our call centers. Again, we are operationally preparing for that potential, establishing a team to answer 1099 calls, defining a mechanism to get those calls to that team, and of course, as previously mentioned, driving hard to get people to go to the website we stood up for this purpose www.esd.wa.gov/1099 rather than calling us.

The Waiting Week

The waiting week for regular unemployment insurance went back into effect January 10, 2021 (there is no waiting week for PUA). Especially since it’s been waived since the beginning of the crisis, I wanted to flag its reinstatement and point you to the alert we posted on the website about this for claimants.

Status of the Continued Assistance Act

As I shared in the past, there are many components to the new federal legislation. Here is a quick progress report on the existing and/or new programs:

Fundamentally, the UIAC has been a core partner in our efforts and, as we rollout these new provisions, will continue to be a key sounding board and stakeholder.

Benefits Data Dashboard Highlights

Due to the launch of the new federal stimulus and the changes to the systems, some claimant and processing data needs to be adjusted. We will update the dashboard again once we can ensure data is a true reflection of claimants’ experience. Thank you for your patience as we roll out these new federal benefits.

Our dashboard is updated weekly, on Thursday, in conjunction with the weekly UI numbers. The full dashboard can be found here.

Weekly Numbers

Thursday, we announced our weekly unemployment numbers. You can find the full press release here. Highlights include:

Trust Fund Balance: $1.8 B

Economic Recovery Dashboard

Check back often for newly released information.


Inslee announces additional COVID-19 financial support

November 20, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced additional financial support funds for families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor was joined by Lisa Brown, Department of Commerce director, for the announcement. 

“We know this pandemic is taking an economic toll,” Inslee said during a press conference Friday. “On Sunday we announced $50 million in business supports, but after more discussions with legislators and our agencies, we’ve agreed on how to more than double that.”

In addition to funds announced on Sunday, the total new economic supports amount to $135 million. Included in that total is:

Included in the $70 million in business support grants is $50 million for a new round of Working Washington grants focused on the hardest-hit industries. Remaining funds will go toward historically disadvantaged businesses who applied for earlier business grants and bolstering Commerce’s business resiliency network.

“We know this is hard on these small businesses, and we know that this will not fully solve the burden so many business owners are shouldering,” Brown said. “But it will help get some of them get through a difficult period. We are going to keep working with legislators, congress and other partners on securing additional support.”

The grants will be allocated first to businesses most impacted by both COVID-19 and the most recent measures taken to address public safety. Equity will also be a priority in making allocation decisions. In addition to the new funds, there will also be separate business support programs coming from local governments.  

“This is a significant relief effort,” Inslee said. “I can’t say it’s going to help everyone, but I can say we are not done yet collaborating with our partners to find more funds.” 

Story found here


Inslee announces cap on third-party delivery fees to help restaurants

November 19, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a new cap on fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery platforms, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates and others. 

“We recognize the challenges posed by COVID-19 to our restaurant community, and we’re grateful to third party delivery platforms that have made it possible for Washingtonians to continue supporting local restaurants, and allowed many businesses to stay open,” Inslee said.

“However, these are difficult times. We all must sacrifice during these uniquely challenging times to both support our businesses and slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage Washingtonians to support their local restaurants safely through delivery and take-out options that are available.”

The proclamation caps delivery fees at 15% and total fees at 18% of the purchase price of an order. Third party delivery platforms have seen increased usage as fewer people are dining indoors this year due to health restrictions and concerns over contracting COVID-19.

The proclamation is similar to measures taken in several cities around Washington. It takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 12:01 a.m.

Read the full proclamation here.

Story found here

Watch the National ABC News Story:

Clallam County has voted for every presidential winner since 1980. Nineteen counties out of the country’s 3000 counties had that record until this year. The other 18 voted for Trump. Now we are the only county with the perfect voting record.
We are “the county with the country’s pulse.”
We collaborate in a peaceful way and work together – what an example for the other Washington and the rest of the US. It makes us at your EDC proud to be a part of this community.
See the video Click Here


Broadband Test and Survey

Please take the following broadband test and survey from your business and home computer. We also highly encourage you to share the link with anyone in the county who lives or works here. The more data we have, the better!

Scroll to the middle of the following website page to take the Speed Test.
https://www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-statewide-broadband-office/

Don’t worry about the filling out the survey.

Department of Commerce has a map that shows the results. You can zoom in to any area of the state.
https://wacommerce.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/35d4610ce42f40c3ac3513a78e3a8e9d

Thank you for helping us to understand broadband speeds in Clallam County!


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