Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the PROMISE Act -- a comprehensive plan to help businesses rebuild and recover, many of which are Black, immigrant, and communities of color-owned.
PROMISE stands for Providing Resources, Opportunity and Maximizing Investments in Striving Entrepreneurs. The PROMISE Act is inspired by what many saw and heard from community members and business owners during tours of property damage in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The legislation includes $167 million in direct assistance to small businesses as well as $125 million to compensate individuals and businesses for uninsured property loss.
“The Promise Act is a promise we are making to the neighborhoods most impacted by civil unrest after a police officer murdered George Floyd,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor, the bill’s chief author. “It’s a promise to have the backs of people of color, and indigenous and immigrant-owned businesses built from the ground up. It’s a promise to choose vibrancy and culture over gentrified redevelopment as we rebuild. It’s a promise to make sure the people who live and work in these special corridors are the ones who get to decide what their future looks like.”
"We must take immediate action to support and rebuild our wounded communities. The Promise Act will support our communities in an equitable and holistic way so we can rebuild for and by the community," said Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL - Minneapolis). "These commercial hubs are the lifeblood of our minority and immigrant communities. By rebuilding with an intentional focus on equity we can avoid the devastating effects of gentrification."
The legislation would:
- Create a special panel to review cases and provide direct compensation to impacted individuals.
- Partner with cities and community organizations to create economic relief programs for impacted businesses and organizations.
- Give local units of government flexibility and tools to prevent gentrification.
- Direct the Minnesota Department of Commerce to assist business owners, and require insurance companies to notify the department of any rejected claims.
- Help with the rising cost of leases for eligible residential and commercial properties.
- Eliminate the sales tax on the purchase of construction materials used to rebuild damaged or destroyed properties.
- Provide property and sales tax cuts for eligible properties.
- Establish a “Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Corporation” to create a long-term plan for equity-driven redevelopment and transformation.
“We need to make sure that Lake Street stays Lake Street, that Midway stays Midway, and that Broadway stays Broadway,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “These are strong economic and cultural centers of our cities, and we have to help them in a way that promotes equity and prevents gentrification. Minnesotans expect to see growth and rebirth in a better way, led by the Black and Brown Minnesotans who built these special, vibrant places.”
“Our communities and these businesses, many of them minority-owned and already struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, need resources to rebuild,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “The Promise Act is a comprehensive plan to help those impacted that puts equity at the center of our recovery efforts. The Legislature must move quickly to help these communities recover.”