Swedzinski: more help needed for business
The Legislature recently approved a $216 million business relief package designed to help small businesses and workers impacted by Gov. Tim Walz’s restrictions.
State Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) said the relief package will help, but the best remedy would be allowing Minnesota businesses to do more to safely re-open.
"Relief is not going to be a silver bullet that makes everyone whole, but it is a first step while I would like to see more being done," Swedzinski said. "We absolutely have to get these businesses back on their feet in a real way.
"The arbitrary rules by Gov. Walz, keeping businesses closed, is destroying our rural economy. We need to change the way we view this. We need to change the opportunities that are around. If we are going to keep businesses closed, we need to pay them to be closed and not simply do this on the backs of these small-business owners."
The business relief package includes direct grants to businesses, license and other fee relief, and a 13-week extension of unemployment insurance for workers.
The grants are broken into three categories aimed at prioritizing speed. The first category will be $88 million in grants administered automatically by the Department of Revenue to restaurants, bars, gyms, bowling alleys, and other businesses who have seen losses of more than 30 percent compared with last year.
The second category is approximately $14 million administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for movie theaters and large convention centers, and the third pot is $112 million in grants that will be administered at the county level.
The county-based grants are intended to help additional businesses impacted by the recent closures that do not qualify for the first two grant categories, however businesses which receive grants from the DOR are not precluded from receiving county-based grants.
Swedzinski indicated preliminary grant estimates for counties in District 16A were $256,000 for Lac qui Parle, $506,000 for Lyon, $300,000 for Redwood and $256,000 for Yellow Medicine.
The governor enacted the relief package on Wednesday.
In other news: Rep. Swedzinski issued the following statement regarding the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's decision to proceed with the California Cars Standard through the administrative rulemaking process, which likely will raise the price of vehicles for Minnesotans by up to $2,500. The MPCA put the rulemaking process on hold earlier this year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Swedzinski is the Republican lead on the House Energy and Climate Finance Division.
"This is just another example of metro-centric liberals pushing their ideas on the rest of Minnesota," Swedzinski said. "The idea that this could not pass the Legislature should be evidence enough that this is a bad idea. California does not need to be in control of our energy policy. California has made bad decision after bad decision to pander to special interests. Minnesota is not being served well by the MPCA and Gov. Walz."