Today the Minnesota Senate passed legislation to appropriate $60 million for small businesses in crisis from the stay at home orders and coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed with bipartisan support. The bill takes $57.6 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and $2.4 million from the Small Business Guarantee Loan program to provide relief grants to Minnesota small businesses.
“Every community across Minnesota has been affected by the pandemic’s devastating economic impact,” said Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth). “These grants won’t meet every need and certainly can’t make up for the hardships our small businesses have endured, but we are throwing a lifeline to help them get through this challenging time.”
A business is eligible if it has a brick and mortar location in Minnesota, is owned by a permanent resident, employs 50 or fewer full-time staff, and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Once approved, eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $10,000 to use for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.
“I am a small business owner myself, and I’ve heard from the small businesses in northern Minnesota about the disproportionate effect the shutdown has had on them,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake). “Small businesses don’t have robust profits to sit on and wait the pandemic out. They have immediate needs and this bill is a start to recovering our economy.”
The bill designates $30 million to be distributed to businesses in Greater Minnesota and $30 million for distribution in the seven-county metropolitan area. At least $18 million of the funds would be designated for microbusinesses of 6 or fewer employees. A minimum of $15 million must be awarded to minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.
“We carefully crafted this bill to appropriate the funds to those who need it most and to have the broadest impact across the state. Everyone is hurting right now, so we’re responding by passing the bill today with simple and broad guidelines to get vital resources to as many small businesses as possible,” Anderson concluded.
Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth) represents Senate District 44, which includes the cities of Plymouth, Minnetonka, and Woodland. He is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education Finance and Policy and serves on the Taxes and E-12 Education Committees.