DEED Call Notes 8/27/2020
2020 08 27 Call, DEED
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Peter Brickley, Asst Commissioner of Commerce
Cynthia Bauerly, Commissioner of Revenue
See Yang, Staff, DEED
Steve Grove, DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
DEED, Steve Grove
· Actively engaging with CDFIs on administering the SBRGs to business awardees. $10K grants, about 6K total.
· Business are required to be filed/currently registered with Secretary of State to be eligible. Some awardees are not, working with partners on this.
· Continue to work on reopening process… biggest looming component is schools.
· As Fall hits and weather changes, challenges continue for restaurants and hospitality. Actively engaging to determine how we might help mitigate.
· Large venues: some of the trickiest components of “turning the dial forward.”
· Enforcement of existing Eos re gatherings and masks: more a DOL and Health issue… know it’s important that we get enforcement right as a state.
Commerce, Peter Brickley
· Staff are reaching out to business and community organizations re insurance-related questions. Please reach out to me or contact counterpart at DEED and they will connect us.
· COVID: continue to get handful of calls from consumers re COVID questions. Two buckets: 1) providers charging for testing; 2) where can they do virtual screenings to determine if they need a test. Triaging folks to the right agency.
Nicole Blissenbach, DLI
· Workers Comp:
o as part of legislation passed that provide Presumption for COVID-related workers comp claims in certain industries, also a requirement for Commissioner of DLI to provide detailed report on claims that were affected by the legislation to the Work Comp Advisory Council and Legislature.
o That report is due in Jan 2021, we are tracking carefully now in anticipation of this report. Working closely with MDH to get #s.
o In general, we are seeing significant impact on acceptance/denial of claims that fall under the presumption. Seeing more accepted.
o Including enforcement of EOs re safety and health.
o Seeing #s going up in certain industries… many establishments are in compliance but hard for them when others are not complying, thus risking the industry’s status of being “open.”
o School year ahead requires more work here as well.
o DLI, OSHA Division, has been ww MDH and DPS targeting increased enforcement efforts.
o We know, based on what we’re seeing, large majority of establishments are complying. Want to bring attention to those who are and addressing those who are not.
Commissioner Bauerly, Revenue
· Grace periods
o For taxes: grace periods expired now. We are ww customers to get caught up on taxes due.
o Eager to ww customer, helping them figure out a plan.
o We will abate interest and penalties if late payment is due to COVID-19.
· Local funds distribution
o Passed penultimate deadline for filing from local govts, which is 9/1.
o Have distributed nearly all the funds.
o These municipalities re reporting to MMB on where they are spending the $.
1. I am hearing more open enrollment for options for students want in person schooling. How do you see per-student funding being impacted – if at all? Grove: I will have to look into this question and respond next week.
2. What is current return to office plan? Website still includes work from home mandate, but can we include voluntary return to office for those who can’t work from home…? Grove: current EO is that if you can work from home, you must. Community spread is still high, at 35-36%, still concerning. Re voluntary return to office where people can’t work from home, this is possible. Is a business decision. Broader issue is that IF you can work from home, you MUST. We do know this is important and will open more broadly as soon as possible.
3. Businesses have a concern that state will pursue sales tax to recoup lost revenue. Any thoughts on this? could hurt businesses already suffering. Bauerly: recent update from MMB, we are facing shortfall in this biennium and projected of $4.7B in next biennium. As Gov and Legislature convene in next session, typical budget session, they will have to wrestle with the tools we have to balance state’s budget. So, at this point, all this will be taken up next session.
4. What is being discussed about how to handle restaurants as we move to fall/winter? Are you considering allowing more people indoors to, at a minimum, maintain same # of diners? Grove: discussion are ongoing. We are having vigorous discussions with partner. #1 stressed industry is accommodations and food service. We know how challenging this is. The big question: can you maintain 6′ of social distancing indoors at an occupancy rate of more than 50% (which is where we are)? Now collecting data. 75% occupancy is hard… so what are other mitigating adjustments we can consider? Maybe increase party size from 6 to 8 or 10, could do some banquets/events or larger groups… discussing with our partners in these sectors.
5. SBRG: if companies are “in good standing” before funds are distributed, would be helpful. Can we change? Grove: would require legislative change. Law currently written says “certified by march 1.” if you have retroactive registration we can make accommodations. Otherwise, any other change would have to come from legislative action. This is not a DEED requirement.
6. School districts’ decisions on learning models will have significant impact on workforce. 14-day average case rate by county will determine what happens with our schools. Why is MDH data updated only 12 days AFTER the 14-day period? By the time it’s public, data is 3-4 weeks old. How to make it available faster to help schools and business? Grove: I will connect with colleagues and get back to you. That said, in all data reporting there are lags both from timing and accuracy. Know it is a priority. Blissenbach: Deputy Commissioner Mueller from MDE has said, case count #s are only 1 factor school districts are selecting. That’s where you start, and other considerations that come after. Grove: I just got a response from MDE: will need to take this up with the Legislature, this whole idea of “holding schools harmless.”
7. MN Chamber: through its GrowMN partnerships, they are providing statewide database re local COVID funding programs available. If you are interested, go towww.mnchamber.com/blog/local-covid-19-resource-database.
8. Is the DLI and MDH set-up in enforcement only for restaurants/ bars or is it also for other places of gatherings like places of worship? Blissenbach: letting the #s guide us. now, most concerning data is coming from restaurants/bars. So that is where increased enforcement efforts now will be focused. Doesn’t preclude shift if numbers in other aeras change.
9. Are projects that use CRF/CARES Act funds subject to prevailing wage requirements? Blissenbach: will be getting answer to you. Team at DLI will be on it. talking with US DOL on this question. Send questions to our Prevailing Wage Unit.