Governor and House Republicans Unveil Economic Relief Plans to Assist Minnesota Businesses
Both Minnesota Democrats and Republicans released their own plans today to help provide relief for the businesses impacted by the latest restrictions across the state. The packages from both sides target the 14,000 businesses affected by the governor’s latest restrictions.
MINNESOTA – Both Minnesota Democrats and Republicans released their own plans today to help provide relief for the businesses impacted by the latest restrictions across the state.
The packages from both sides target the 14,000 businesses affected by the governor’s latest restrictions.
Last week, bars and restaurants across the state were forced to close in-person dining while gyms and entertainment venues like bowling alleys and theatres had to completely shut down for the next month.
The governor’s and democratic lawmakers’ current plan is to get the money out the door as quickly as possible but a price tag of the package is not decided yet, adding there are multiple options on the table.
“What we’re asking at this time is relief to every single one of these businesses,” said Governor Tim Walz. “We’re not looking at a grant, we’re not looking at a lottery, we’re looking at that. And I think these legislators are the ones who made it clear that that has to be a priority of what we do.”
Among the items in the governor’s relief package are things like waiving state licensing and regulatory fees for institutions like bars, restaurants, and craft breweries and having eviction moratorium for small businesses.
The package also includes a one-time $500 cash bonus for families hit the hardest by COVID-19.
It would also extend unemployment insurance benefits for 13 weeks to Minnesotans who have been on long-term unemployment.
Representative Ryan Winkler stated that while the state waits for federal action, the Minnesota legislature needs to step in to assist struggling businesses.
“We need to focus our efforts on people who need it the most,” said Rep. Winkler. “All Minnesotans are suffering but we need to stand up for the Minnesotans whose lives are most deeply affected, whose livelihoods are most deeply affected, and whose family businesses are most likely to be harmed by this pandemic.”
On the other hand, Republicans have proposed their own Main Street Relief Act, which is headlined by a $400 million grant fund designed to help businesses like restaurants, bars, gyms, and other entertainment venues.
“I think we’ve all seen that around our state, in the country,” said Rep. Dave Baker. “How bigger is getting bigger and smaller is being squeezed out. So our intent today was to try and give real relief to main street Minnesota and I think that’s what we’re trying to do here today.”
They also want a three-month sales tax holiday for some businesses and are asking that fitness centers and gyms reopen arguing that health data does not support the closure of those facilities.
One state representative says without these fixes, the situation becomes even more difficult.
“This has been one of the most difficult years in history for our main street businesses,” said Rep. Barb Haley. “They endured lots of closures in the beginning of the year and thankfully had some support from the CARES act that helped them support that closure period. Today, the situation is even more dire.”
In order to pass the relief package, the governor will have to call the Minnesota legislature for a special session in the coming days.