Walz, House GOP, unveil aid plans for hard-hit businesses


MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WXOW) — Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota House Republicans have unveiled aid proposals for small businesses that have been hit hard by the tightening of the state’s restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Walz says his package is aimed at keeping businesses afloat, supporting workers struggling to get by, and helping families keep food on the table.

The House GOP proposal includes direct grants to businesses that would be aimed at providing relief for Main Street establishments impacted by the governor’s latest executive orders.

The governor said he would call a special session when an agreement is final.

“Our small businesses and the Minnesotans whose livelihoods depend on them are bearing a huge weight for the good of their entire community. As cases skyrocket and hospital capacity is pushed to the brink, our small businesses should not have to bear the financial consequences alone. We’re in this together,” said Governor Walz in a statement released by his office. “I am committed to turning over every stone to find funding that will help make sure our businesses stay afloat, our workers are supported, and our families can put food on the table.”

The governor’s office released additional details of the relief proposal:

  • Keep Small Businesses Afloat
    • Provide direct aid to businesses through Business Assistance Program
    • Waive State and regulatory fees for bars, restaurants, event centers, craft breweries, and more
    • Establish eviction moratorium so small businesses can stay in their locations
  • Support Workers Struggling to Get By
    • Extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks, helping as many as 100,000 workers whose benefits currently end next month
    • Provide a $500 one-time emergency payment to struggling families
  • Help Minnesota Families Put Food on the Table
    • Establish one-time grant to restaurants to provide food for healthcare workers, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities
    • Provide a tax credit for businesses that donate food that would otherwise spoil or be thrown away 

House and Senate Republicans are working on their own plans which would also provide financial aid to businesses. The House GOP has said it wants to use $400 million from a state budget surplus to provide grants to struggling businesses.

KTTC contributed to this report.

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