The Legislature put several of Governor Walz’s Executive Orders in bill language for his signature, which passed both chambers this week. The programs that were included in legislation are as follows:
Exemption for Minnesota Investment Fund: Allow local units of government are to keep the repayment it earns through the Minnesota Investment Fund. Local units of government can redeploy these resources to help businesses in their community. DEED estimates local units of government will have $28 million at their disposal.
Unemployment Changes: The one-week delay that was previously required to access unemployment insurance funds is suspended for the duration of the year. Business owners who have elected UI coverage can access unemployment insurance funds longer than the 5 weeks allowed under current law. Additionally, businesses that had to lay off employees as a result of COVID-19 shall not have those layoffs impact their UI tax rate. Also, it expanded workers protections allowing more individuals to access unemployment in certain situations.
Small Business Guarantee Loan Program Approved
A Minnesota based small business loan program was appropriated $10 million. It was part of Governor Walz’s proposal to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 but do not qualify for an SBA disaster assistance loan. The proposal guarantees 80% of loans up to $200,000. A small business is defined as employing no more than 250 full-time equivalent employees. The loans can be used for machinery or equipment purchases, maintenance, or repair. Additionally, loans can be used for working capital if it is secured by fixed assets when possible. (HF 4531)