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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 06 Call, DEED – and Sunday’s State of the State
Monday, April 6, 2020
6:57 AM
BREAKING NEWS THIS MORNING:
Wells Fargo closes loan window for SBA relief program, citing regulatory cap
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf said the bank has already reached its lending capacity of $10 billion for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, as it operates under a regulatory asset cap. That’s bad news for millions of the bank’s small business customers.
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
Darielle Dannon, Legislative Director
Anna Peterson, DEED Chief of Staff
Purpose: regular business call with state government
Questions are being circulated into the forum through this daily communication. Always seeking ideas for more targeted supports.
MOVING FORWARD, THESE CALLS WILL BE M-Th.
DEED
  • UI: today shifting resources over to information line. To help those having problems on web getting answer on the phone. Ui.mn.org. to limit wait time, scheduling.
  • Questions about your act, call M-Th, 8am – 2pm.
  • Help applying for benefits: call 8-4pm on Fri.
  • Passwords: anytime during business hours.
  • Continuing to take in inquiries re critical vs non-critical industries. Has slowed significantly. Continue to go there for clarifications. Extensive pdfs and lists of occupations, goes into granular detail. www.mn.gov/deed/critical.
  • SBA continues to roll out updates on its small business resources and lending vehicles. www.Sba.gov.
Commerce, Steve Kelley
  • Commerce continues to work on processing licenses even though we have provided additional time for many licensees.
  • Also aware that some people were caught short by the closing of some of the testing centers we use, as they apply for new licenses. So we are looking at approaches for providing temporary licenses until we can get those testing centers back open.
  • Don’t have much to add in terms of new developments, but want to remind people to keep an eye out for scams that may be taking advantage of COVID-19 crisis. We rely on people helping us to spot these efforts to take advantage of Minnesotans. If you see of anything, contact Commerce so we can investigate.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach
Revenue, Robert Doty
  • Revenue doesn’t have a lot of new information to update this morning.
  • Note we are still working hard to provide additional guidance on payment filing and due dates that are coming up.
  • Over next 90 days, where we can provide additional relief for tax payers.
Questions
  1. A number of questions about federal legislation. Still sorting that out to get guidance from feds.
  2. Business assistance: can you use fed dollars to pay back state dollars? Or do fed programs restrict that? Grove: yes, you can, in most cases. Look at loan terms, but SBA loans can be used.
  3. Can employers use both EIDL, including the up to $10K advance, AND PPP? We have received conflicting information about that. Grove : our understanding of that is that you can and you should. Blissenbach understands that as well. PPP just rolled out on Friday, may not yet be consistent… but do apply for all resources that appear to be available.
  4. A managing partner for a business takes his/her wages as guaranteed payments. Can that be used to establish their rate of pay for UI? Grove: my guess is, this particular business may be run by someone who’s self-employed or an indep contractor, so wages not tracked by UI. As it relates to determining rate of pay for UI, system in place uses our ability to track your wages if you’ve been paid into UI. If not, waiting on fed govt to determine how much $ we should give to self-employed or indep contractors. When we have that guidance, can address those not currently being covered. Interesting concept, but for now are still waiting on US DOL guidance. More when we know it.
  5. Does DEED offer group assistance for a group of employees, help them file UI collectively to east the process? Grove: I don’t believe we do. UI is a very specific to the individual. Each is paid different amount, based on different employment history. No “one size fits all” calculation. Interesting idea for scale, but need every individual to apply directly to the system and turn in their own unique data.
  6. What’s the relevant resource to find UI applicant numbers for the country? Grove: I’ve been reading in the paper. Not sure about any official reporting. Candidly, fed govt look at this differently from state govt. President hasn’t encouraged to release those #s, we think differently in MN. We should know where unemployment is at. Looking at fed DOL page, nothing there. look at your favorite source of journalism. Blissenbach: Bureau of Labor & Statistics maybe.
  7. People are growing frustrated and worried with the slowness of federal relief flow to MN. What are you telling folks? Grove: we get it. No question it’s frustrating. Always harder to get federal resources moving. We are on calls every day with our partners in fed govt. They are navigating a complex system. We are advocating on behalf of Minnesotans every day. UI as an example, we think the quickest benefit to come will be the extra $600 for those already covered by UI, could come as soon as this week. Re indep contractors/self-employed, and the 13-week extension, we think probably later in April, based on timelines we’ve been shown and the complexity of that program. Weeks rather than days. Important to remember that, even though it takes longer, will be back-dated to the effective date. Won’t get cheated out of it, but it will be slower. Blissenbach re paid leaves: they do have guidance on their website up now, and have been updating that daily.
  8. If the small business made no $ in 2019, are they still eligible for assistance and grants? Open and running but no profit….? Grove: we don’t have such prohibition. May be some specific terms lenders have, so reach out to the lender of choice that reps our programs. I don’t know on the SBA side. We can find out.
  9. Does MN Dept of Health know how many community transmission cases were people operating in an essential business? Grove: I do not think so. MDH hasn’t posted those #s. they have posted new information on long term care facilities.
  10. Do you know of 501c6 (nonprofits organized to promote business, like chambers of commerce and membership organizations) and PPP loan eligibility? If not eligible, are you aware of any possible changes? Grove: I don’t know if they can. 501c3s can. Will get back to you (B insert: on call with Senator Klobuchar last week, 501c6 ineligibility was brought up; Senator hopes this miss will be corrected in the 4th stimulus package, the “next stimulus bill,” currently in the works in Congress).  (later in call, Grove: Just now I got pinged from colleague re 501c6 designation. PPP is available to c3, c9, does NOT mention c6. colleague is telling me FMLA Institute for NPs is the best website for more detail)
  11. Do people eligible for UI in MN have to do anything extra to get that $600? Grove: no, just apply. Same applies for the 13 week extension. For those self-employed or indep contractors who haven’t applied for UI, apply now. If you’re denied, that’s ok (probably will be denied). Then your name is in the system such that, when new guidance comes from DOL re those denied, we will proactively reach out to you to provide payments.
  12. Will laying off employees prohibit a business’s ability to apply for forgivable loans under state and fed funding? Many employees are asking to be laid off to get UI benefits. Grove: PPP is about protecting people’s jobs. I’d lean on SBA for specifics… goal is to protect your workers from layoffs beyond this crisis. Do need to hold onto your workers. For our state programs, we do not have specific guidance re holding on to workers. Designed to be used for payroll and working capital; the goal is to help you hold on to as many jobs as possible.
Gov last night, State of the State
– Coming out of quarantine soon.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz delivered his 2020 State of the State address.
Normally, the address is given in front of a formal joint session of the Minnesota House and Senate with all 201 legislators and many guests attending, but that event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tonight’s very short speech, which was broadcast live via YouTube and various media outlets, was delivered by Walz from the Governor’s Residence. It lasted only 12 minutes.
Typically, a State of the State address is a speech in which the Governor spends time talking about his state budget and policy priorities, making the case for what he is proposing. Tonight the Governor spoke only about the COVID-19 pandemic, and focused on trying to reassure Minnesotans that the state will come out the other side of the pandemic stronger. He said the sacrifices currently being made are saving lives.
He acknowledged that the surge in numbers of people sick with COVID-19 is still to come, and said hospitals and practitioners are preparing. He thanked essential health care workers for staying on the front lines to help the sick, and praised Minnesota corporations like Medtronic and 3M for everything they are doing to share information and manufacture live saving equipment. He also thanked Minnesotans for adhering to the Stay at Home order, noting “…staying at home is the only vaccine we have right now.”
Walz addressed Minnesota’s youth, acknowledging that many will miss sporting events, graduations, and other milestone events due to the Stay at Home order. He said to them, “What you are doing matters. Your sacrifice is keeping people safe.” He went on to address parents, acknowledging how difficult it is to stay home, work from home, make sure kids are doing their schoolwork, and keep a household running all at once, with economic uncertainty. He said, “Minnesotans are hard-working people who step in to help. In many storms, that means plowing your neighborhood, filling sandbags or trudging through snow to check on your loved ones. Now that means staying home. What you are doing isn’t paralysis – it is action.” He closed by telling them, “Be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can – and that’s all we can do.”
The Governor noted there are dark days ahead, and said it is difficult knowing that not everyone who gets sick will be saved. Moving forward, he promised to continue to communicate his decisions, and explain when he changes course.
We expect the Governor to continue his daily 2pm briefings on the COVID-19 situation, and this week will also be watching various legislative hearings related to policies and funding for programs to help people and institutions affected by the virus.
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