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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Bill would allow Vancouver businesses to continue getting assistance, tax credits

Sen. Annette Cleveland: 'The Main Street Program is a proven economic development tool that helps create jobs and support existing jobs'

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 18, 2022, 6:02am

A proposed bill from state Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, would allow Vancouver businesses to continue accessing benefits under the state’s Main Street Program.

The state program provides assistance with local downtown preservation in the form of business-and-occupation tax credits.

“Now more than ever, our small businesses need all the help and tools we can give them, particularly in the face of the ongoing pandemic,” Cleveland said during the bill’s first hearing before the Senate Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee last week. Senate Bill 5617 will next head to the Senate Rules Committee.

“Vancouver has worked diligently over many, many years to revitalize and strengthen our core with the help of the Main Street Program. I know we all understand the importance of a strong main street for thriving communities. The Main Street Program is a proven economic development tool that helps create jobs and support existing jobs,” Cleveland said.

The Main Street Program also provides guidance and support to individuals or businesses interested in downtown revitalization and serves as a clearinghouse for tools and techniques for development.

However, the program is only available is cities with a population of 190,000 or less. With Vancouver’s population nearing 191,000 as of the 2020 census, businesses in the city could lose access to the program next year.

Cleveland said the bill would ensure the continuity and continued success of the Main Street Program in Vancouver by clearing up a technicality in the language.

“Now is not the time to destabilize our small businesses in Vancouver’s downtown core,” Cleveland added.

Having passed out of committee, the bill is now available to be called to the floor for a vote of the full Senate.