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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Minnesota House Approves Grants for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Friday, June 12, 2020

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved $62.5 million in grants for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Being the first day of the special session, this legislation was part of a bipartisan and bicameral package of bills slated to be passed early on. The bill is authored by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL - St. Paul), chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division; and Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL - Coon Rapids), vice chair of the House Commerce Committee. 

“As we begin the process of slowly and safely reopening businesses, it’s important that assistance is provided to the smallest of the small that were affected by the ongoing pandemic,” said Rep. Mahoney. “This bill is a combination of state and federal funds that will provide additional resources for the small businesses in our communities, and better equip them to weather this pandemic and the lasting economic impacts.” 

The bill includes $60 million from the federal CARES Act, and $2.5 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Emergency Loan Program. The focus of these funds will be on Minnesota’s smallest businesses, many of which are not as well-connected with private banks, and that were required to operate at 50% capacity or less as of May 18. The funds will be evenly split in their allocation to Greater Minnesota and Metro-area businesses. 

“We have heard from countless small businesses across the state about their struggles under the challenging times of COVID,” Rep. Stephenson. “It’s critical that we deliver this aid to them as soon as possible.”

Under the bill, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive grants up to $10,000 each. To be eligible, the business must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a permanent physical location in Minnesota, 
  2. Be owned by a permanent resident of MN, 
  3. Be in good standing with the Sec. of State’s office and the Dept. of Revenue as of March 1, 2020, and 
  4. Demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast to existing programs designed to help business during the pandemic, grants will be awarded by lottery.

The bill is available here. Video of today’s floor vote is available here

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