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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Monday, May 11, 2020

McDonald family pic

The McDonald family as we celebrated Mother's Day yesterday.

Greetings,

Here’s hoping you and your family remain healthy and in good spirits, and that you had a good weekend celebrating Mother’s Day and the 2020 fishing opener. I hope these events provided a little lift we all could use these days.

As for this week’s legislative news, here are some recent developments:

Economic update

Minnesota Management and Budget recently released an interim budget projection showing the state faces a nearly $2.43 billion deficit for the remainder of the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2021. It’s the first time the number is in the red since the Great Recession.

The new number represents a nearly $4 billon change from what was projected just a couple of months ago. The full forecast released in February projected a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Because the next forecast is not scheduled until November, this projection has limited updated estimates of expected revenues and expenses. It also reflects appropriations enacted this session.

These numbers show the state is suffering financial difficulties right along with families and businesses throughout Minnesota. When businesses are not taking in earnings and people are seeing their income reduced or eliminated, it translates to a reduction in state revenue. That is a major reason the governor should start working with the legislature to help create a path forward to safely re-open our economy and make tough decisions regarding state spending given the realities we face.

Disaster loans available for ag workers

Agricultural workers are urged to consider expanded U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans that are now available to help them mitigate damages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA has announced that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance programs. The SBA’s EIDL portal is open as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19.

The SBA indicates it will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

More information is available at this link.

Elective procedures

The governor has announced Executive Order 20-51, which allows hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics – whether veterinary, medical, or dental – to resume many procedures that had been on hold. These expanded services may occur once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have provided a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors. House Republicans urged the governor to take this step in a letter dated April 29, so it is good to see him follow through.

With a May 18 date for adjournment, we are now in the final week of the 2020 session. Look for more news things unfold and, as always, let me know how I can help.

Regards,

Joe

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