Minnesota surplus improves outlook for small business help

Created: December 01, 2020 04:24 PM

An improved financial outlook for state government could mean that Minnesota small businesses will get help sooner rather than later.

New projections released Tuesday by Minnesota Management and Budget show the state is running a $641 million surplus in this budget cycle, as opposed to the $2.4 billion deficit that had previously been forecast. The agency says higher general fund revenues and lower expected spending resulted in the improved outlook.

Governor Tim Walz says the new numbers shows that the state can afford to act immediately on COVID-19 relief for small businesses.

"We bridge these folks to the new year, we bridge them to the potential for a federal relief package to small businesses, and we bridge this until we start getting folks vaccinated and the threat to our hospitals becomes reduced. We have that capacity now," Walz said.

Last month, Walz and Republicans in the Minnesota House both introduced proposals to help small businesses. Following the news Tuesday, both the DFL governor and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) predicted that the aid could be passed quickly.

"The most important thing that we can do is make sure that when this pandemic is over and when the vaccine is distributed and the concern over the pandemic has gone away and we can return to normal, is to make sure that there are businesses and there are jobs available for people," Daudt said.

The Republicans who control the Minnesota Senate have not yet released their proposal.

Not all of the news Tuesday was good. MMB projected a $1.273 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle, though that is still far lower than the $4.7 billion shortfall that had previously been forecast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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