March 14, 2022
Last week, EDAM’s main priority for the legislative session – securing Redevelopment Funding for 2023 – was heard in the House Workforce and Business Development Committee (House File 819). Few bills receive hearings before the first deadline (March 25th this year), with thousands introduced each year. The House hearing on Redevelopment was an exciting and significant accomplishment. Senator Pratt has agreed to hear the Senate version, S.F. 585, on March 21st, which will ensure the bill makes deadline in both House and Senate and will be in play for a potential omnibus budget package.
Securing a hearing for the Redevelopment Bill early last week was critical because much of the focus quickly shifted to the unemployment insurance tax increase that could take effect without legislative action. The current stalemate stems from partisan posturing. The Republican controlled-Senate passed legislation to fully replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund to pre-pandemic levels at a cost of $2.7 billion.
Meanwhile, the DFL controlled-House leadership has signaled that they want a more modest approach that focuses on relief for small businesses. House Leadership wants to refill the insurance trust fund, but only up to $1.3 billion and let the fund replenish itself after that point. The House has also explicitly called for $1 billion for Hero Pay (bonuses for frontline workers) to be a part of the deal.
Legislative leaders are expected to continue to debate this issue behind closed doors until an agreement can be reached.