House Republicans recently brought forward a pair of bills that we believe deserved urgent action in order to prevent massive tax hikes to struggling families this tax season.
The proposals would have brought tax relief to those who received Unemployment Insurance (UI) and business owners who accepted a federal loan during the pandemic. Unfortunately, both proposals failed after the House majority refused to support them.
The UI tax relief bill targets those who lost their jobs last year. It targets those workers who were most hurt by the pandemic restrictions by excluding the first $10,200 of unemployment pay from income tax in the year 2020. The bill also assures that the $600 and $300 federal relief unemployment bonuses will not be taxed by Minnesota.
The second bill addressed impacted business owners who accepted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and used those funds for business expenses, such as employee wages or rent. Congress ultimately forgave the loans and made them free from federal taxation. However, Minnesota still wants to consider this loan forgiveness as income and tax those who took the loan in order to stay in business. The Minnesota Senate recently approved the state PPP Tax relief proposal on a bipartisan, and veto-proof vote of 55 -12.
It troubles me that we are not getting work done for Minnesotans who desperately need some help. It appears the House majority is holding these bills as end-of-session bargaining chips, which is simply wrong. No one ever deserves to have their finances messed with, especially during a pandemic.
Minnesota certainly isn't struggling with revenue these days either. With a projected $1.6 billion budget surplus, and another $2.6 billion coming in federal COVID-19 aid, we have plenty of money available to solve these issues.
Residents who were forced from going to work, and business owners who were ordered to close need action from their lawmakers, not lip service. Tax season is here, and in some cases, the bills are due. With more than $4 billion available in one-time funding, we should be able to eliminate these one-time problems that were created solely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.