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Swedzinski: Lift state taxes from emergency loans

ST. PAUL – State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, on Thursday called for immediate action to spare businesses throughout Minnesota from owing state taxes on forgivable emergency loans recently issued by the federal government. 

The Minnesota Senate Tax Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that exempts PPP loans from state taxes. 

In a press release, Swedzinski mentions that The Tax Foundation reports Minnesota is the only state in the Upper Midwest that has yet to exempt forgiven Paycheck Protection Plan loans from state income taxes. These loans were offered as lifelines for businesses to keep employees on the payroll and meet other financial obligations amid COVID-19 restrictions. More than 102,000 Minnesota businesses received them. 

“It would be unacceptable for our state to skim tax dollars from emergency funding sent to struggling businesses,” Swedzinski said. “The state has a $1.6 billion surplus, so there certainly is not a lack of revenue. We need to get this issue resolved now. Let’s not hold it hostage until the end of the session when it could slip through the cracks.

“If the governor calls for this bill, it could be on his desk in no time. Let’s send him a clean bill – no amendments – to show bipartisan support for our business community. Our state’s workers have suffered so much in the last year and it’s time to get their backs. There is no reason for the House to delay and play games with people’s livelihoods.” 

Area II funding bill heard

A bill authored by Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, was heard in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. The bill allocates funds to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for floodplain management grants to Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects.

“I am very happy to chief author this bill,” said Senator Dahms said in a Wednesday press release. “I have worked with Area II for many years and appreciate their efforts to manage floodwaters in southwestern Minnesota.”

“Our region is very unique geographically,” testified Kerry Netzke, Area II Executive Director.

Area II was organized in 1978, by statute, as a nine-county joint powers organization in southwestern Minnesota for the purpose of floodwater retention and retardation. Over the joint power organization’s 43-year history, numerous floodwater retention projects have been installed to temporarily hold floodwaters.

With floodwater storage being widely recognized as a key component in the solution to Minnesota’s water quality problems, Area II is recognized as a regional leader in this effort due to its decades of experience and success stories. The five major watersheds within Area II are the Yellow Bank, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Cottonwood, and Redwood.

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