A special session to provide natural disaster relief went remarkably well Monday: It took only two hours for both houses in the Legislature to pass an $80 million disaster relief package and send it along to the governor for his imminent approval.
The bill we passed provides $73.6 million in aid to at least two dozen counties in southern Minnesota which suffered flood damage in September. There also is $6.6 million in funds to help several counties including Ottertail and Wadena recover from last June's tornadoes. We will tap into the state's general funds and sell general obligation bonds to cover the majority of this tab.
Total state-federal funding for the disaster relief for public facilities and land could reach as high as $140 million. Much of Minnesota’s funding includes federal matches so we get more bang for the buck.
It should be noted the federal government turned back requests for money for individual property owners. Other resources available are low-interest loans available through the Small Business Administration (http://www.sba.gov/localresources/district/mn/index.html) and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (http://www.mnhousing.gov/).
Finally, I want to let you know House rules will prevent legislators from sending e-mail updates again until after the election. So, until then…