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Rantz: Gov. Inslee has no coronavirus plan to help businesses he’s killing with mandates

Gov. Jay Inslee and Trudi Inslee. (Screengrab from TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee has no plan to address the economic calamities his newest coronavirus mandates are causing. It’s an embarrassing oversight by a governor who is irrationally terrified of a virus with a death rate of 1.9%.

Inslee’s newest mandates, which aren’t based on data, will devastate thousands of businesses. Gyms must close indefinitely, despite reportedly having no connection to COVID outbreaks. Restaurants, which have been tied to less than 1% of the outbreaks, can no longer offer in-person dining. Some of these businesses will never reopen. Meanwhile, up to 100,000 people will soon be out of work.

While the data doesn’t back up the governor’s overzealous mandates, one could at least get by with an economic plan that offers them short-term support. After all, they’re being closed down for a surge they didn’t create or even contribute to. But Inslee has no plan. Will the pressure finally get him to make a move?

Inslee is killing businesses with new coronavirus mandates

When Inslee announced the new mandates, he didn’t really hide the fact that he had no economic plan to help.

The governor said they can get “creative” without roughly $50 million in funding used for grants or loans to businesses. He should have it ready by the end of December, after plenty of businesses go under. Perhaps that’s the plan? Knowing $50 million will offer virtually no meaningful help statewide, the less businesses he has to help, the further the money will go, I suppose.

Inslee could call a special legislative session so lawmakers who are more connected to their communities can hash out some kind of plan to offer immediate help to businesses. But he refuses.

Bogus excuses

Scared his mandates will be overturned or that Democrats will be forced to go on the record supporting shutdowns that are putting their constituents out of business, Inslee contends there are no specific plans that have been offered to consider. So why would he call a special legislative session? Except there are specific plans.

State Rep. Drew MacEwen (R-Union) has four bills he can start to move through the Legislature. Inslee just won’t let him. Instead, the plan seems to be to just wait for federal dollars so he won’t have to commit to cutting any of the state’s outlandish spending. That’s not a plan; it’s also not leadership.

And what about the scores of Washingtonians put out of work by his new mandates? Grants and loans to businesses that go under won’t help them. Oh, wait: We have a robust and completely secure Employment Security Department that will offer them hassle-free unemployment checks. All they have to do is fill out a form and upload (and reupload) personal documents. If you send Commissioner Suzi LeVine an email telling her you’re a Nigerian prince who will actually deposit hundreds of millions in her account, you’ll get incredible customer service.

All of this was avoidable

These issues were avoidable, but Inslee refuses to lead. He can’t: He’s terrified of this virus.

The data very clearly doesn’t justify his draconian shutdown orders that will cause more harm that good. Multiple positions can be all true without contradicting each other:

  • COVID can be deadly for some and should be taken seriously.
  • Overbroad mandates can be more dangerous than COVID.

There could have been mandates that showed more nuance. Inslee wasn’t interested in that.

Though he promised his office would collaborate with key stakeholders before coming up with his mandates, Inslee did no such thing. This past weekend, multiple industry leaders confirm they were explicitly told what the mandates would be. They were not asked to take part in the process. Most of them were caught off guard and could have helped provide some perspective to help stave off some of the economic hardships they will now face.

So now what? The pressure is mounting on Inslee for a coronavirus plan to mitigate the problems his mandates caused. And he has to see the optics by now of not providing help. Will he rush some kind of plan to offer support? Maybe. Will it fail because it was rushed? Probably.

Update on Inslee restaurant mandates

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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