More than 102,000 Minnesota businesses tapped into federally issued and forgiven Paycheck Protection Plan loans to help keep workers on the payroll and meet other essential financial obligations after COVID-19 restrictions cut their revenue.
And now Minnesota is going to tax these loans unless the Legislature acts. The Tax Foundation reports Minnesota is the only state in the Upper Midwest that has yet to exempt PPP loans from state income taxes.
This would be an absolute disgrace and it needs to be fixed. Now.
I am hearing from local businesses that say this issue is a foremost concern for them in their financial planning. They signed up for federal emergency funding and applied it to appropriate uses per strict guidelines they were provided. At no point were people told they better set 10 percent aside because the state’s going to want its piece of the action.
These dollars have been spent keeping people out of the unemployment line, keeping the mortgage current, etc., during dire times. For the state to come and skim back a portion of those emergency funds after the fact is egregious and borderline abusive treatment of businesses.
The feds bailed out governors around the nation with these PPP loans and now ours – who has been crushing businesses with his unilateral decisions for a year now – may funnel money siphoned from business relief toward his proposed state spending increase. It’s one of the craziest examples of bad government you could ever dream up and it needs to stop.
A Senate committee this week approved a measure that would eliminate this tax and it is time for the House to get going. The majority needs to step up and take care of business on this matter instead of stalling and playing games with people’s livelihoods. Businesses are counting on us to provide a solution and we can’t just sit on this and keep them in limbo until the end of May when something may or may not happen.
Let’s fix this and let’s fix it now. There’s no reason to wait. Let’s pass a clean bill to eliminate this tax and send it to the governor to enact. Minnesota businesses have been hammered during the last year and deserve a bipartisan remedy for this issue to move through the Legislature right away.
As for news in House committees this week, we heard more bills from the majority that would raise housing costs and make affordable units even more difficult to find. For example, one bill would apply a “park dedication fee” to new houses. It is just one more expense on top of many other actions the state has taken which drive up home prices.
Until next time, have a good weekend and stay in touch.