Proposal includes grants to businesses, sales tax relief, and more
ST. PAUL —House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a package designed to help Minnesota businesses hampered by the latest executive orders from Gov. Tim Walz.
The Main Street Relief Act is headlined by a $400 million grant fund designed to support restaurants, bars, breweries, bowling alleys, theaters, gyms, and other establishments that have been ordered to close or limit operations since last week.
“It is disappointing that we find ourselves in a situation where small-business relief is necessary, but that is the harsh reality,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “Restrictions the governor has placed upon our small businesses may be a contributing factor, compounding challenges local businesses face. That said, we need to do what is right for our businesses and their workers who have been unduly damaged during this pandemic.
“We simply can’t ignore this problem – regardless of what or whom is to blame – while Main Street continues to wilt, or the road to recovery will only be longer and the pain more severe. This relief package helps to buy some time until we get to the point the economy fully re-opens, which I hope is soon.”
The package includes:
- GRANT PROGRAM FOR BUSINESSES: A $400 million grant program for businesses who have been impacted most by the recent executive orders. This program would be administered through the counties — many of whom have already set up grant programs to distribute CARES Act funding.
- SALES TAX RELIEF: A three-month sales tax holiday for businesses that have been limited to takeout or curbside-only operations, and a three-month sales tax holiday that begins upon reopening for businesses that are currently mandated to be closed altogether.
- LIQUOR FLEXIBILITY: Temporarily doubling the current cap for takeout beer, wine, and liquor sales. In addition, granting flexibility to breweries and others to sell their product in containers up to 64 ounces.
- LICENSE FEE RELIEF: Waiving the state fee for establishments who sell alcohol until 2 a.m. — currently in addition to license fees paid to the county, restaurants, bars, and other establishments pay a separate fee to the state to make sales between 1 and 2 a.m. Legislators also encouraged cities and counties to work to provide as much relief as possible from liquor and other license fees collected at the local level.
- OPEN OUR FITNESS CENTERS AND GYMS: Minnesota gyms and fitness centers have taken extreme caution to keep their clients safe during the pandemic, and physical activity is critical to helping Minnesotans maintain a healthy lifestyle.