MN Legislature expected to pass $216M coronavirus relief package for businesses

The Minnesota Legislature is expected to pass a $216 million COVID-19 relief package for bars, restaurants and other businesses closed by Gov. Tim Walz’s four-week shut-down order aimed at combating spread of the virus.
The package will include a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 Minnesotans who could run out of federal jobless payments on Dec. 26.
Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, said during a virtual news conference Monday that leaders of the House and Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses and Walz agreed to the final details of the package Sunday night.
“We’re going to pass the bill today,” said Baker, one of the architects of the plan.
He said the grant money will be split into three “buckets”:

$90 million that the state Revenue Department will distribute to bars, restaurants and other shuttered business that had a 30 percent or higher reduction in their sales tax payments in the past three weeks. The grants would range from $10,000 to $45,000 per business based on the size of their operations. Closed theaters would be eligible for up to $15,000 per screen, and event centers would get grants based on their capacity.
$14 million to gyms and fitness centers to be distributed by the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The state would allocate $112 million to counties to distribute to local businesses “as they see the needs,” Baker said. Some of those businesses may not have met the threshold of a 30 percent drop in sales tax payments.

Baker said he’d like to see the first relief checks go out in a couple of weeks. All the money would be distributed by the end of March. Related Articles

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