Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

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March 5, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Last week, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released the February budget forecast. State economists reported that Minnesota now has a $1.6 billion projected budget surplus for the upcoming 2022-23 budget cycle. In November, these same economists were projecting a nearly $1.3 billion deficit.

According to MMB, the nearly $3 billion turnaround is due in part to fiscal actions taken by the federal government that were not taken into account during the November forecast, better than expected revenue collections, and lowered state spending.

Despite this positive economic outlook for the state, there are still thousands of Minnesotans and businesses that are not enjoying the recovery. Many of these individuals and main street businesses are still struggling because of Governor Walz’s harmful shutdowns.

Thankfully, over 100,000 Minnesota businesses were thrown a lifeline when the federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last year. This program provided forgivable loans to small businesses that were struggling to stay afloat during the worst of the pandemic. These 100% forgivable loans allowed businesses to keep their doors open and staff employed despite the significant financial losses that were being incurred at the time.

Fast forward to today, and many of these businesses have started to receive surprising tax bills from the state. This is because Minnesota is one of only a few states in the nation and the only state in the upper Midwest to tax these federal loans.

This is an issue that must be fixed as soon as possible. These businesses and the people they employ have been through tremendous difficulties the past year. We must exempt these loans from state taxes, and we need to do it sooner rather than later.

Vaccine Update
Governor Walz announced last week the next phase of Minnesota’s vaccine rollout. The next phase of the vaccine rollout will unfold in four tiers, with vaccines eventually available to anyone age 50 and above and then on to the final phase in the summer when the general public will be able to get the shot.

For more information on this announcement, click here: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/whos-getting-vaccinated/index.jsp

Also, last month, the Minnesota Department of Health announced a new tool for all Minnesotans to sign up to receive an alert when there is a vaccine available to them — regardless if they are currently eligible to receive one.

The “Vaccine Connector” is a tool for all Minnesotans who have not yet been vaccinated – the Vaccine Connector will notify you when it’s your turn for a shot.

You don’t need to sign up if:

  • You have already received your COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You previously registered for our COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program.
  • You completed the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Child Care survey.
  • The Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector will get you information about when, where, and how you can get the vaccine.

It’s important to note that if you are eligible to get vaccinated right now, you do not have to wait for information from the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector before you get your shot.

Center to Advance Greater Minnesota

I am a member of the newly created Center to Advance Greater Minnesota. This is a group of legislators that weekly to discuss issues that are important to rural Minnesota.

We recently created a Facebook page where you can follow along for updates. Click here to visit that page.

Staying in Touch
Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a good day,

273 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155