We are more than halfway through the 2021 legislative session, and it’s turning out to be one of the least productive in recent history. In fact, until this week, the DFL majority had only passed 5 bills, the fewest at this point in a session since at least 1995—as far back as the House website goes.
Normally, as a small-government conservative, I would not necessarily be displeased to see the legislature moving slowly and deliberatively. However, there are several time-sensitive issues that the legislature should take up immediately to provide relief for Minnesotans and businesses that have been harmed by Governor Walz’s shutdowns.
While DFLers are paralyzed, House Republicans have worked this week to step up and lead.
This was best illustrated in our attempts to approve legislation to exempt 100% forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from state taxes, as well as a fix to Unemployment Insurance taxes. Unfortunately, the House Democrats refused to allow either bill to pass, as the entire House Majority unanimously opposed both measures.
Business owners who accepted PPP loans used these funds for business expenses like employee wages or rent. That’s why Congress forgave and fully exempted these loans from federal taxes completely. The Minnesota Senate recently approved the state PPP Tax relief proposal on a bipartisan, and veto-proof vote of 55 -12.
DFLers in the House refused to support this bill and did not provide the votes needed for it to pass.
Minnesota is now the only state in the upper Midwest that is taxing PPP loans. Because of this, thousands of businesses around the state are receiving unexpected tax bills. This is unacceptable.
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) bill we put forward would exempt $10,200 in UI income, the same amount exempted by the federal government.
Once again, House DFLers failed to support this bill.
With a giant surplus and money coming in from the federal government, Democrats voted against $269 million of tax relief to people exclusively who lost their jobs last year.
The state is looking at a significant budget surplus and there is no reason to force our struggling business owners and workers that have been laid off to shoulder this financial burden—especially when they were forced out of work by the Governor. We should be acting quickly to give these folks peace of mind and use a sizable chunk of this surplus for tax relief.
Please do not hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.