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RELEASE: Rep. Lee votes for the PROMISE Act to rebuild destroyed, damaged businesses

Friday, June 19, 2020

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved the PROMISE Act – a comprehensive plan to help businesses rebuild and recover from the recent civil unrest. Many of businesses impacted were Black, immigrant, and communities of color-owned. PROMISE stands for Providing Resources, Opportunity and Maximizing Investments in Striving Entrepreneurs.

“The pain resulting from George Floyd’s horrific killing remains with each of us, and enacting bold police accountability reforms is of the utmost urgency. While we advocated for these overdue solutions, businesses were destroyed by unrest, and we have a responsibility to help them rebuild,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL – Minneapolis). “I’ve never seen our community come together like it did after the unrest, with neighbors helping neighbors get through these tough times. There is much work remaining, and the PROMISE Act is our next step to ensure neighborhoods can recover and the small businesses that contribute so much to our community’s vibrancy can thrive again.”

The PROMISE Act will invest in communities like North Minneapolis and includes the following measures: 

  • Establishes the Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Corporation – a provision chief-authored by Rep. Lee – to create a long-term plan for equity-driven redevelopment and transformation. About $60 million annually will be generated for this purpose.
  • Creates a special panel to review cases and provide direct compensation to impacted individuals – up to $125 million.
  • Partners with cities and community organizations to create economic relief programs for impacted businesses and organizations – up to a total of $167.57 million, with $17.5 million to the city of Minneapolis. Grants are available up to $250,000 per entity, and the maximum loan amount is $500,000, which is forgivable if a business or nonprofit remains in the community for at least three years
  • Gives local units of government flexibility and tools to prevent gentrification.
  • Directs the Minnesota Department of Commerce to assist business owners, and requires insurance companies to notify the department of any rejected claims.
  • Helps with the rising cost of leases for eligible residential and commercial properties.
  • Eliminates the sales tax on the purchase of construction materials used to rebuild damaged or destroyed properties.
  • Provides property and sales tax cuts for eligible properties.

The Star Tribune estimates that nearly 1,500 buildings in the Metro area were damaged during a five-day period.

Rep. Lee’s remarks on the House Floor can be viewed on YouTube here.