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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nels Pierson (R)

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House Republicans unveil Main Street Relief Act

Tuesday, November 24, 2020


Proposals include grants to businesses, sales tax relief, and more 

ST. PAUL, MN — 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 help restaurants, bars, breweries, bowling alleys, gyms, and other establishments that were ordered to close or limit operations last week with less than 48 hours’ notice. 

“Immense restrictions have been placed upon our Main Street businesses and we need to support them with the relief they need,” said Rep. Nels Pierson, R-Rochester. “I want to work with anyone willing to participate in making it happen. My main concern is that we have been locked out for so long by the governor and the Democrats in the House have not had hearings or done the work along the way.” 

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 2AM — 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 AM and 2AM. 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. Available data does not support keeping our gyms closed — gyms should be allowed to reopen prior to the current Dec. 18 deadline.