Before we get to today’s legislative news, I want to send wishes for a happy Mother’s Day and good luck in the fishing opener. Our family tradition is to get out on the Horseshoe Chain for the opener and we plan to do that again Saturday … keeping social distancing in mind, of course. I would welcome any good pics you may want to send depicting Mother’s Day images or participating in the fishing opener so I may share them on social media.
I also want to send a shout-out to area cardiopulmonary resuscitation trainers teaching families via Zoom. It is a great way for these important skills to be taught while still adhering to social distancing practices. Click here for the full story.
In other news this week:
Officials from Minnesota Management and Budget on Tuesday released an interim budget projection showing the state faces a nearly $2.43 billion deficit for the remainder of the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2021. It’s the first time the number is in the red since the Great Recession.
The new number represents a nearly $4 billon change from what was projected just a couple of months ago. The full forecast released in February projected a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Because the next forecast is not scheduled until November, this projection has limited updated estimates of expected revenues and expenses. It also reflects appropriations enacted this session.
This indicates the state is suffering financial difficulties right along with families and businesses throughout Minnesota. When businesses are not taking in earnings and people are seeing their income reduced or eliminated, it translates to a reduction in state revenue. That is a major reason the governor should start working with the legislature to help create a path forward to safely re-open our economy and make tough decisions regarding state spending.
Disaster loans available for ag workers
Agricultural workers are urged to consider expanded U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans that are now available to help them mitigate damages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBA announced this week that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance programs. The SBA’s EIDL portal is open as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19.
The SBA indicates it will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.
More information is available at this link.
Ag webinar re: meat and poultry processing markets
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is hosting a one-hour webinar 9 a.m. Friday to answer questions about expanding local meat and poultry processing markets in Minnesota and discuss how we can adapt Minnesota's meat and poultry supply chain in response to the current pandemic. Topics of discussion will include the MDA's inspection requirements, grant opportunities, and marketing assistance programs. Here is more.
On Tuesday, the governor announced Executive Order 20-51 allowing hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics – whether veterinary, medical, or dental – to resume many currently delayed procedures once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors.
Have a good weekend and enjoy Mother’s Day and the fishing opener. And, as always, your feedback is welcome.