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Councilmember Sawant Unveils Commercial Rent Stabilization and Other Proposals to Support Seattle’s Small Businesses

SEATTLE – Accompanied by many small business owners and worker representatives, Councilmember Kshama Sawanttoday unveiled a series of initiatives intended to support Seattle’s small businesses and workers.  The proposals, which range from stabilizing commercial rents to improved late night transit service to providing retirement account options for workers, are part of a comprehensive package to help small businesses and their workers thrive.

“There’s a lot of small business rhetoric from corporate politicians, but little actual policymaking that helps our city’s small businesses. Commercial rent control, for example, is a policy that will directly benefit small businesses,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant. “City Hall needs to stop conferring sweetheart deals on big developers and corporations, and begin serving the interests of small businesses and working people.”

The announcement today coincides with the Council’s review of the proposed 2016 operating budget. Among other proposals for budget amendments, Councilmember Sawant is urging a study of commercial rent control in preparation for an ordinance next year.

“We all love Seattle’s quirky unique culture, but we need to support our small businesses if we’re serious about preserving the character and soul of our city,” said David Meinert, owner of The Comet and other businesses. “We especially need to move on these policy ideas to support women and minority-owned businesses,” he added.

Mike Rodriguez of Restaurant Opportunities Center United added that “Policies such as commercial rent control and a city-sponsored portable retirement system benefit both small businesses and their workers. We cannot lift living standards of restaurant workers by focusing on labor policy alone. When small businesses have a steady predictable profit and easier paths to provide benefits to their workers, both parties win.”

For a more detailed explanation of Councilmember Sawant’s “Progressive Plan for Seattle Small Businesses and Their Workers,” click here.

Press Conference Speakers:
David Meinert, Owner, The Five Point Cafe, Comet Tavern, others
Sonja Ponath, Small Landlord, Former Small Business Owner
K. Wyking Garrett, AfricatownSeattle.com
Mike Rodriguez, Restaurant Opportunities Center United
Paula Lucas, Le Frock
Nate Omdal, Fair Trade Music Seattle

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