Main Street 2021-2023 Legislative Agenda

Main Street 2021-2023 Legislative Agenda

Main Street 2021-2023 Legislative Agenda

Main Street 2021-2023 Legislative Agenda

Raise your voice to support Main Street-led economic recovery

Main Street is an economic development tool rooted in historic preservation – it capitalizes on our unique assets and provides a framework for communities to build local resiliency.

In Washington State, the Main Street movement is fueled by the Washington State Main Street Program (WSMSP), a statewide program of the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation. This program represents 65 towns across the state – ranging from Vancouver to Colville, Dayton to Port Townsend. These local Main Street Communities work tirelessly to support small businesses, create resources and partnerships, and build community.

Not only is Main Street the most effective economic recovery tool our communities have, it is also a proven positive return on investment. For every dollar the State of Washington has allocated to WSMSP, the economic activity generated in Main Street Communities has generated $1.58 back to the state in tax revenues. That’s a 58% return on investment.


Now is the time to bolster the WSMSP and its network of local Main Street Communities. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, as a statewide advocacy organization, supports these measures:

1. DIRECT SERVICES TO MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES: WSMSP can ramp up direct recovery services to communities across the state, with an emphasis on organizational stability and small business retention. Services would include direct business support (changing business models and design accommodations), web development and e-commerce, community ecosystem training, and micro-business development. WSMSP would provide both individualized economic guidance and statewide resources to small businesses and the Main Street organizations supporting them.

  • Budget request: Increase WSMSP funding to $350,000 annually (currently at $240,000 annually through DAHP)

2. SUSTAINABLE FUNDING FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES: These local nonprofit organizations are lifelines to our state’s small businesses and critical economic recovery partners. There is already an economically viable (positive fiscal return for the state) financing program established in Washington State through which Main Street Communities currently meet 25-75% of their operating budgets: the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program. Enhancing this existing program will allow sustainable local funding that doesn’t put Main Streets in competition with small businesses or other nonprofit organizations.

  • Budget request: Increase the overall cap of the MSTCIP to $4,000,000 in tax credits (currently at $2,500,000 annually) and put in place a partial (sunsetting in 2023) increase in the credit that a participating business receives for their contribution to the local Main Street (currently 75% credit, proposed short-term increase to 90%).

3. CAPITAL GRANTS FOR MAIN STREETS: DAHP has submitted a proposal for a new capital grant program for $3,000,000, specifically to support commercial buildings in Main Street districts. The grants would support small businesses by providing funds for safety improvements, restorations, and physical improvements to their properties. WTHP supports this proposal and suggests the program be funded at $5,000,000. This initiative would support both construction jobs and improve employment conditions for the small businesses that will benefit directly from the capital projects this grant will support.

  • Budget request: $5,000,000 to DAHP to administer a Main Street Capital Grant program

To really make these budget requests heard, we need your help. Please contact Governor Jay Inslee and encourage him to include Main Street-led economic recovery programs in proposed budget. See below for details on how you can voice your support, as well as some sample text to include in your email or guide your phone call.

Write to Governor Inslee


Sample Text

See below for sample text in support of all three budget proposals listed above. Please feel free to tailor this language to fit your own request and don’t forget: a personal touch goes a long way! Consider adding your own story to your request.

Dear Governor Inslee,

I am writing in support of the Washington State Main Street Program and asking you to bolster its network of 65 local Main Street Communities across the state– ranging from Vancouver to Colville, Dayton to Port Townsend. Washington Main Street is a major driver of downtown revitalization, economic development, and community placemaking in Washington State. 2020 has proven, in more ways than one, that Main Street was built for economic recovery and small business support. Not only is Main Street the most effective economic recovery tool our communities have, it is also a proven positive return on investment. For every dollar the State of Washington has allocated to WSMSP, the economic activity attributable to Main Street Communities has generated $1.58 back to the state in tax revenues. That’s a 58% return on investment.

I urge you to build on this proven approach by including the following measures in your proposed budget for the 2021-2023 biennium:

  1. Funding for increased economic recovery services to support the stability of local Main Street organizations and small business retention. I encourage you to increase funding for the Washington State Main Street Program (administered by the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation) to $350,000 annually so it can ramp up direct recovery services to communities across the state.
  2. Enhancements to the tax credit program to increase local funding for Main Street organizations. Local Main Street nonprofit organizations are lifelines to our state’s small businesses and critical economic recovery partners. There is already an economically viable (positive fiscal return for the state) financing program established in Washington State through which Main Street Communities currently meet 25-75% of their operating budgets: the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program. Enhancing this existing program will allow sustainable local funding that doesn’t put Main Streets in competition with small businesses or other nonprofit organizations. I encourage you to increase the overall cap of the MSTCIP to $4,000,000 in tax credits and put in place a partial (sunsetting in 2023) increase in the credit that a participating business receives for their contribution to the local Main Street (currently 75% credit, proposed short-term increase to 90%).
  3. A new capital grant program to directly support small businesses and historic property owners on Main Street. A new capital grant program for commercial buildings in Main Street Districts, as proposed by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), would support small businesses and assist in recovery efforts by providing funds for COVID-related safety improvements, restorations, and physical improvements to their properties. This initiative would support both construction jobs and improve employment conditions for the small businesses that will benefit directly from the capital projects this grant will support. I encourage you to support the creation of this program by including $5 million in funding to create the Main Street Capital Grant Program in your proposed budget.

Now is the time to activate the power of the Washington Main Street network to help support economic recovery, small businesses, and community building across our state. I urge you to include the measures above in your budget to ensure the resilience, endurance, and recovery of our communities in this difficult time.

Thank you for your consideration,

[Your Name Here]


If you prefer to call, you can reach the Governor’s Office at 360-902-4111. And if you’d rather send your letter via snail mail, hard copies can be sent to:

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002


Advocacy Alerts

Stay in the loop on the Washington Trust’s advocacy work (including these measures) and learn how you can help raise your voice in support of historic preservation and Washington Main Street. Click below to sign up for emails and make sure to select “Preservation Issues and Advocacy Alerts” from the list as an area of interest!

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