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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tim O'Driscoll (R)

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Rep. O'Driscoll Legislative Update

Friday, March 5, 2021

Greetings,

With news of Minnesota's $1.6 billion budget surplus breaking last week, lawmakers have begun discussing how it should be utilized. One area that should be addressed centers on the local employers who are facing unexpected, and enormous, tax bills this season because they accepted a federal loan that helped them survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOOD COVID-19 VACCINE NEWS
The Biden Administration recently noted that vaccines should be available for all American adults by the end of May, which is great news. As we move forward in the last phases of this pandemic, it would be good to hear from Governor Walz about when he plans to end his executive orders and how he plans to reopen the State of Minnesota.

FORGIVEN FEDERAL LOANS SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO STATE TAXATION
Impacted business owners who accepted Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans are being unnecessarily targeted by state government. If businesses used those PPP funds to pay wages, rent, or other criteria approved by the federal government, the loans were ultimately forgiven and were free from federal taxation.

But Minnesota has not conformed its tax code to match the federal law, and in doing so, is the only state in the Upper Midwest that has yet to exempt forgiven PPP loan income from state income taxes. We've heard from a number of store owners who say this will cost them tens of thousands of dollars in tax bills this session.

With legislation in the taxes committee that would make the needed conformity, and surplus funding to make up the difference, this is a proposal we need to act on immediately. Local small business owners are the backbone of our communities and provide jobs for adults and kids, and we need them to continue employing people in the future.

SAFE ACCOUNT FUNDING NEAR DEAL?
Yesterday, the Senate Majority Leader said a deal is close on passing a State Aid For Emergency (SAFE) account funding proposal that would reimburse law enforcement agencies that respond to emergencies.

While the Minneapolis riots brought this issue forward, looking beyond that, it is good public policy to have money available when local governments facing a disaster call on other communities for help. This is money that could be used when out-of-town fire departments respond to a blaze, or when first responders from outside communities help a city in the aftermath of a tornado, flood, or other weather-related event. Its just good common sense.

UPDATED FISHING REGULATIONS NOW AVAILABLE.
Our warm weather has many thinking about fishing season. The 2021 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet is now available, and it includes several changes, including new sunfish regulations that are in effect on nearly 100 waters. Visit the DNR website here for more information.

KEEP IN TOUCH
As always I'm continuing to support constituent needs. Feel free to contact me anytime at rep.tim.odriscoll@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-7808.

Be well,

Tim

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