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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, March 19, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

We are officially just past the halfway mark of the 2021 legislative session, and it is turning into one of the most unproductive in recent history. In fact, through the first 10 weeks of session, Democrats had passed just five bills. This is especially disappointing when there are several commonsense things the legislature could do immediately that would provide relief for individuals that have been harmed by Governor Walz’s shutdowns.

One issue that has received a great deal of attention recently and is one that could pass today if Democrats would put up the votes, is legislation that would exempt the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan income from state taxes. This could be paid for with the state's projected $1.6 billion surplus.

PPP loans were lifelines for thousands of businesses to help keep staff employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These forgivable loans are not taxed at the federal level or by any of the other states in the upper Midwest. This puts Minnesota businesses at a competitive disadvantage and will significantly harm small business owners that employ our neighbors and families. We cannot delay and let this important fix get caught up in end-of-session political games. It is time to take action, now.

To that end, House Republicans attempted to force a vote on this bill this week after it passed in the Senate on a broad bipartisan vote of 55-12. Sadly, House Democrats refused to let the bill pass—leaving thousands of businesses wondering what’s next.

In addition to the bill forgiving state taxes on PPP loans, Republicans forced votes on a handful of other bills this week.

Simply put, if Democrats are paralyzed and unwilling to work on pressing issues like protecting Minnesota businesses and workers from tax hikes and helping students get caught up after a year of distance learning, then Republicans stand ready to lead.

Other bills we forced votes on this week include:

  • A bill exempting $10,200 in Unemployment Insurance income, the same exempted by the federal government, to eliminate a surprise tax bill for people who have been out of work. 
  • Legislation that applies federal funds the state is receiving toward defraying costs of in-person summer school learning to help struggling students get back on track after a year of distance learning. The bill also provides funding for student mental health, as well as early learning scholarships. 
  • Funding to ensure that local law enforcement agencies that respond to riots in Minneapolis associated with the Derek Chauvin trial receive the funding needed as specified by their mutual aid agreements.

House Democrats blocked each of these bills. The need is there, and Minnesotans want the House to deliver results. 

It’s time to lead.

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns as it relates to state government. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Have a great day,

Glenn

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