The first major date of legislative importance has come and gone. The first committee deadline in both branches of the legislature was March 25. This was the day that committees in each legislative body had to act favorably on bills within the house of origin. In other words, for a House bill to move forward, it had to have been heard by a committee last Friday.
The second committee deadline is this Friday. This means House Committees have to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met last Friday’s deadline in the Senate.
Worth remembering, the deadlines do not apply to the House committees on Capital Investment, Ways and Means, Taxes, or Rules and Legislative Administration.
So what has made the cut? Honestly, nothing of significant importance.
It is not a budget year, so we do not have budget targets for each agency within state government. We do have a $9 billion budget surplus upon which we need to make decisions, but we have no targets regarding that either. And finally, we have no deal on Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund’s $1 billion deficit.
LOCAL EMPLOYER TAX HIKE BECOMES REAL
All Minnesota employers are now seeing increases of 15% or more on their unemployment insurance rates due to House Democrats stopping legislation that would have eliminated the UI Trust Fund deficit.
Remember, we have $9.3 billion in available state surplus funds that could be used for this purpose, as well as federal COVID relief funding that totals more than $1 billion. Because House Democrats refused to take action, significant tax hikes have kicked in.
Due to this nonsense, employers could face state and federal penalties if they do not comply with the state’s new unemployment insurance tax rates, a minimum $250 per month for late filing/payment or $10 per employee, whichever is more. Federal penalties could be up to 15 percent of the amount owed, plus potential criminal penalties.
Remember, House and Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and Governor Walz all wanted this problem eliminated, but House Democrats refused. If you’re a job provider looking to cast blame, look no further than Speaker Hortman, Majority Leader Winkler, and their House Democrat colleagues.
In the meantime, I urge employers to plan ahead. I don’t want you to pay additional fines or worse because House Democrats failed you.