PEUC was part of the federal CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. You can find more information on this and other unemployment benefits here. This is the second of three CARES Act programs, which DEED has quickly implemented to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Approximately 8,000 people have exhausted or will soon exhaust their Minnesota unemployment insurance benefits. With PEUC fully implemented, those individuals will now be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance in addition to the $600 additional compensation payments was implemented earlier this month.
The final component of the CARES Act to be implemented is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will provide unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers, and others who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits. DEED just announced today that these PUA payments are beginning.
Our Work in the Minnesota House
Last week, the Minnesota House met to pass legislation and debate necessary actions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. In adherence to recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, and in order to properly protect our staff and other members, most legislators conducted their work remotely, or while practicing social distancing on the House floor.
One of the bills we passed was the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which ensures that Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need can access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a co-pay of $35. Eligible Minnesotans include those who are uninsured, under-insured, receiving Medicare, and who do not have access to low co-pays. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term. Insulin manufacturers would participate in the program and could be fined up to $3.6 million a year, doubling in the second year, for non-compliance.
Other bills passed last week provided flexibility and clarity for state agencies and local governments to operate as efficiently as possible during the pandemic, and another that allowed takeout wine and beer with meals at Minnesota’s restaurants. My colleagues and I will continue to work towards consensus on common sense ways our state and businesses can operate in ways that do not risk the health of Minnesotans.
Abatement of property tax penalty for certain taxpayers
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners recently approved a measure to automatically waive penalties for property tax payments. It waives penalties for late payment of the May 15 first-half property tax payment until July 15 for property taxpayers who owe less than $50,000 ($100K annually) and do not escrow.
Taxpayers that owe more than $100,000 annually are able apply for deferred payment if they can show a factual basis for waiving the penalty. Hennepin has informed taxing jurisdictions within the county of this decision and will distribute the delayed property tax revenue received by July 15th to taxing jurisdictions by the end of July. The Resolution also gives the staff the authority to take action to mitigate the effects on the taxing jurisdictions within the county if any major cash flow issues occur.
The most up-to-date and accurate source of information on COVID-19 is the state’s informational dashboard on the virus: https://mn.gov/covid19/
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions on our work in the Minnesota House or the resources that are available in our community. You can leave a voicemail at (651) 296-7449 or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.