DEED Call Notes 4/3/2020
APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER NOTE: The following are rough notes of a conference call with the commissioners this morning at 7 a.m. It is intended to give you a heads up early. Always check agency websites for confirmation.
2020 04 03 Call, DEED
Friday, April 3, 2020
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Doty, Asst Commissioner of Dept of Revenue
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
John Kelly, Governor’s Policy Advisor
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
Purpose: regular business call with state government. How can we do more for business?
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this daily communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE Mondays and Thursdays.
DEED, Steve Grove
- We use these questions to update our FAQ page on website.
- Form to submit questions, in calendar invite.
- Spent time this week wrapping up small business loan programs. 32 private banks now enrolled just yesterday, up to 40 now.
- Starting to approve first SBEL, 8 so far.
- Go to www.mn.gov/deed, upper right hand corner, guide for small businesses about which programs work for you.
- UI: many are taking advantage. Over 300K total apps in the state. More on our system now than at any other time in history. More applied in last few weeks than in all of 2019. Extraordinary load.
- Extended application hours from 60 to 84 hrs/week. Now working Sundays, 15 new staff taking phone calls. Please take note of the new benefits request schedule based on your SSN, to organize apps.
- Doubling the # of servers…
- Many states have seen their systems crash, no checks out yet…. That’s not us. Cleared 90% of apps that have come thru. Still longer than ideal, but we ARE working our hardest.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
- Point of progress this week: agreement by health plans to cover hospitalization for COVID-19 patients at in-network rate. Significant move forward to benefit particularly the employees of small group ensureds in MN as well as those who buy insurance on individual mkt.
- Continued work for consistent approach for COVID-19 treatments, with number of self insured co’s in MN. But health plans in MN have been making significant strides, easing concerns of clients and patients.
- Fall off on questions re exemptions re SAH order. Improvement in that process as we’ve clarified what businesses are exempt from Governor’s SAH order.
- Now turning to ww DEED and others on how we identify paths to improve the economic recovery once we can start getting people back to work.
DLI, Nicole Blissenach
- With the schools being out, receiving questions re child labor laws about when school aged employees can work and if time restrictions still apply.
- When school was out for 2 week period, hour restriction re school age children did not apply because they didn’t meet definition of “school day.”
- Now that school is back “in,” employers need to apply “school day hours” for work.
- So, even though it doesn’t feel like school is in session, school-day definition does apply.
Revenue, Robert Doty
- Taking a look at all our tax types and the tax filings, payment dates… all with due dates between 4/1 and 6/30.
- Doing this to determine where to provide additional relief.
- Extended filing and payment dates for individual tax filers as well as mthly sales tax filers.
- As we look at this, part is trying to be clear where we have statutory authority to make such changes and where we would need legislative change or EO to provide additional relief.
- Really important during this time, where so many people in need… if you are an indiv or business that CAN file taxes on time, we encourage you to do that. Will make it easier for those who are in need and who really need that time.
- We will continue to be flexible with individuals with specific needs.
Governor’s Office, John Kelly
- Agencies covered it this morning.
- Thank you to all the businesses and leaders on this call… appreciate the participation and feedback and questions.
- Business assistance are programs at state or federal dependent on each other such that they require a denial to be eligible for another? Grove: small business loan programs for state programs, SBEL or Sm Bus Loan Guarantee program (SBLG), we do ask that you apply to federal $ as well. If you can get a federal loan, better for everyone, so you can pay state back and let us redirect that $ to others who may not get federal $. On the federal side, I don’t think they require you to apply for state $.
- Can DEED and SBA publish data re # of emergency loans or grants by individual city? Would be helpful for cities as we work on gap programs. Grove: interesting question. As it relates to DEED loans, we will begin to publish where those loans are coming from. Have had our first 8 just in last 24 hours. SBA wants to publish that info as well, need clearance from the feds first. As soon as we can, we should. If a city can see where other $ is coming in, can help cities make decisions about how to provide gap. We’ve also had questions about applying for $ at local level or philanthropy and then, if you get state $ as well, whether or not people/businesses need to use that local $ to pay back state loans. I’m confirming NO. Our intent is not to try to get local $ to pay back state $. Federal yes, local no. Don’t want to disincentivize lenders. We hope people take advantage of lots of sources at this time.
- Can we clarify how a small business is defined? In MN, SBEL is for “existing small business.” Is this determined by # employees? Because the SBLG program defines small business as 250 or fewer FTEs. Same for SBEL? Grove: SBEL pulls from the $30M appropriation that small business can apply for at 0% interest rate, 50% forgivable. Second allows for private lenders to get involved and state guarantees at 80%. The SBLG fund is $10M, should leverage total of $20-25M. SBLG DOES apply to businesses with 250 empl or less. But SBEL has no cap. We think a loan range of $2500-$35K would naturally draw businesses that can use that kind of $. If 50% forgivable, businesses are incentivized to pay that back. So didn’t put size cap because massive businesses wouldn’t benefit. The range itself will guide those who actually could benefit from it.
- We’ve heard on this call re renewals and license extensions from agencies on the call. What about Public Safety and other agencies not on the call? Blissenbach: I have not heard from the Dept of Public Safety specifically on license extensions. I have seen questions about commercial driver’s licenses, have been sent over to Public Safety. Not sure of answer yet on that one. We will follow up.
- Anna indicated she’d received several questions re CARES Act… we are still waiting from guidance one every item on the federal bill. So we won’t address questions yet.
- Will DEED emergency loans be expanded to include small retailers impacted by EO 20-20 (B insert: this is the SAH order). Grove: Currently, SBEL is for companies impacted by EO 20-04 and 20-08 (B insert: refers to the closure of restaurants, bars, and other places of public accommodations). At this time we are not planning to expand our program beyond those called out in 20-04 and 20-08. They are hit the hardest and, since 20-15 (B insert: refers to the providing of immediate relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency), a lot of other programs have stood up to assist. Want to encourage people to take advantage of those levers.
- In your guide to MN Small Business who need help, apps for the $10K “advance” grant part of SBA EIDL program must be made within 3 days of the original EIDL application. People have applied over a week ago and saw no requirement for this additional application within 3 days of the loan in order to receive the $10K grant. Grove: we sent this question to the SBA, and Brian McDonald responded: the advance of up to $10K just came online this week. Can be accessed as early as tmoro. EIDL app is continuing to become streamlined. Now applicants can submit just one loan for the app and the advance together. If you’ve already applied for EIDL, you need to go back in to submit for the advance. Doing so will not lose your “spot” in the queue for the loan itself. So: if you did apply prior to this week, go back in and apply for the $10K advance. If you are applying from today moving forward, one app will apply for both.
- Can we create a pdf of the guide for MN small businesses who need help? Grove: yes, and getting up on website.
- Statistical breakdown for UI has been helpful. Is it possible to break down by city in MN? Grove: this far, we have done a regional analysis and we spoke to it in yesterday’s press call. We have not done one by city. Let me talk to the team and see what we can do and circle back.
- Some businesses have mentioned they have laid off workers, and having issues with the ESST rule. How should UI applicants report their sick and safe time? When asked on the application if they earned ESST, they’re answering “yes,” and it’s holding up their app. [not sure who answered this one]: I think ESST is with DLI. But what I can say is that this a common challenge when completing apps. Essentially, can’t be receiving paid time off and also receive UI. When folks are making this mistake, apps are getting flagged and reaching out to applicant and employer to sort that out. If you are not receiving PTO/ESST at this time, and you are applying for UI, indicate as such by answering “no.” You may earn PTO/ESST on your job but, if you’ve been laid off and you are not getting paid at this time, indicate as such.
- We are seeing a need for local portal or site for unemployed workers looking for jobs and for employers who have openings. Besides www.MinnesotaWorks.net, any other site you can refer us to? Or should we create our own? Grove: great point. We are highlighting as much as possible the trends in jobs across the state. Minnesota Works is our state job bank. We are looking for new ways tog et that info out there. Creating an entirely new site isn’t in our wheelhouse just yet. If you want to create your own, can’t hurt, particularly if it’s a local site helping local workers. More highlighting of opportunities is always better.
- We are a hospital, reassigning our staff. If a person is assigned to a new temp person, and received reduction in pay grade as a result, are they eligible for UI to make up the change in the rate? Grove: this sounds like a Shared Work question. I encourage anyone looking to reassign or require an hours reduction to go to Shared Work section of UI website and apply for Shared Work funds. Is designed for those who have to reduce hours across a bunch of people… good lever to consider.
- To clarify: if a community has an RLF, this can be used in conjunction with state and fed programs? Grove: yes. In all cases, apply for federal resources first.
- Do you have an update on PPP and when instructions will be available/applications accepted? Dannon: the material should be up today! Got an email early this morning (B insert: I received notice from 2 major banks just this morning confirming that they are online and ready to receive applications).
- I saw an article in the NY Times that it may be weeks or months before SBA business funding will show up. Is this accurate? Grove: Is a question for Brian. SBA has tried to move as quickly as possible with this $10K advance program… should help in the gap if the loans take a while.