Minnesota legislative leaders reach multi-billion dollar unemployment insurance, worker paycheck deal – Duluth News Tribune

ST. PAUL — Minnesota legislative leaders on Thursday, April 28, announced that they’d reached a tentative deal to roll back a tax hike on Minnesota business owners and to send out hero pay checks to front-line workers.

During a public discussion

with MinnPost

, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said they’d reached a deal to repay the federal government for the loan Minnesota took out to pay unemployment benefits during the pandemic and to repay the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund.

The move would prevent a payroll tax hike for Minnesota businesses and allow those who already paid the higher tax to get that excess back. And 667,000 front-line workers could stand to see up to $750 bonus checks under the compromise plan, the pair told MinnPost.

Each said they hoped to bring the bill to the Senate and House floor for a vote on Thursday and send them to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk by Friday for his signature.

The agreement has been weeks in the making and Minnesota business owners are on the cusp of a hard deadline Saturday, April 30, to pay the extra tax because the state’s jobless fund has not yet been topped off. The GOP-led Senate in February approved the $2.7 billion plan to repay the unemployment fund but lagged on putting funds to front-line worker checks, meanwhile the DFL-controlled House passed $1 billion aimed at boosting front-line workers in March but waited until this week to approve the $2.7 billion repayment plan.

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, right, and House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, left, speak with reporters at the Capitol on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

“We have a tentative agreement on the unemployment insurance, front-line workers,” Hortman said Thursday morning.

“We’ve been working really hard on it and we’re happy we reached a compromise agreement that’s good for the people of Minnesota,” Miller confirmed.

The agreement would also open up $190 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to be used by the governor to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while the remainder of the state’s portion will be up to the Legislature to spend. House Democrats jettisoned a proposal to allow hourly school workers to pull down unemployment insurance benefits as part of the negotiations but said they would continue pushing for that plan in a separate bill.

NOTE: Check back later today for updates to this story.

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