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Rep. Larsen holds coffee chat, talks local economy

By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff

Congressman Rick Larsen held a virtual coffee chat with the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County on the morning of October 6, conversing with community members about the U.S. Congress’ economic updates.

According to an economic snapshot shared, online job postings in September are down 40% compared to January of this year.

“This is just an indication of the general state of Washington State’s economy,” said Larsen.

Sharing data regarding the physical mobility of the economy, Congressman Larsen explained that highway traffic in Snohomish County, besides the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend, is down about 20% compared to March 1.

“That hasn’t moved except for the holiday weekends, an indication that the economy has recovered some but is stagnating,” said Larsen.

In air travel mobility, TSA screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) is down 64% from 2019, said Congressman Larsen, increasing 4.7% from about a month ago.

“Those numbers kind of explain why it’s necessary to do the CARES Act, and I would argue why it’s necessary to move forward with another round of relief,” expressed Larsen.

Passed in March, the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act provides more than $2.2 trillion to a wide variety of recipients to provide support in navigating coronavirus induced economic downturn.

Congressman Larsen represents the second district, stretching from Mountlake Terrace to Bellingham and includes Island and San Juan counties. In his district, Coronavirus Relief Funding went towards emergency services, personal protective equipment (PPE), small business and nonprofit grants, rental assistance, and quarantine shelters.

Cities granted the largest amount of funding represented by Larsen include Everett ($3.4 million), Marysville ($2 million), and Lynwood ($1.2 million). This does not include CARES funds for individuals. The entirety of Snohomish County received $143 million in funding.

“These dollars were not that flexible in terms of use but they had to be related to COVID-19 relief directly,” explained Larsen.

Congressman Larsen says that congress is working to allow further relief flexibility through the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (Heroes Act), recently passed legislation acting as a $3 trillion stimulus package, intended to supplement CARES Act funding.

There’s no shortcut to economic recovery, says Congressman Larsen, stating that the public health response must lead to economic recovery, with further focus on transportation and infrastructure investment-led recovery.

“We have to be healthy; we have to be safe.”

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