One of the biggest concerns heading into the 2022 legislative session was finding a solution to the debt within Minnesota’s unemployment insurance (UI) trust fund.
You’ll recall at the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Walz required businesses to close. This forced thousands of Minnesotans to go on unemployment, which emptied the state’s UI trust fund account. The federal government loaned Minnesota more than $1 billion to meet the unemployment insurance demand, and the state now needs to repay the bill.
The simple solution to this problem was using a portion of Minnesota’s $9.3 billion budget surplus or the more than $1 billion in federal COVID revenue that had yet to be allocated. The Minnesota Senate, on a bipartisan basis, approved legislation that did just that. But the Minnesota House Democrat majority refused to hear the bill for more than 70 days. This resulted in tax increases of 15% or more being leveled on our local employers in order to begin repaying this debt. Minnesota also was forced to pay $50,000 a day in interest costs due to the lack of action.
Recently, legislative action finally took place after a compromise plan was approved that fully replenishes the unemployment insurance trust fund at $2.7 billion – using existing revenue - and ends the tax increase on Minnesota’s job providers.
I was happy to support this bill and finally stop the nonsensical tax hike on local employers, but I’m troubled it took this long. Many business owners from around the state were forced to pay this tax as House Democrats turned this issue into a political football. This maneuver was unnecessary and disappointing.
With that said, many local employers are probably wondering where they stand now that this legislation has been signed into law. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has established a site to help employers determine how the approved legislation will affect them. Visit: https://mn.gov/uimn/employers/employer-account/news-updates/tax-changes-affect-you.jsp.