The Minnesota State Capitol opened its doors to the public on Thursday for the first time since closing them last March due to the pandemic. Our client, The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) was the first advocacy group to hold a press conference in the building. MARRCH called on legislators to invest needed resources into treatment and recovery programs for those dealing with addiction.
The Higher Education working group, composed of senators and representatives who served on the conference committee, met on Wednesday to review the compromise budget bill that is expected to be passed in special session. A Commerce working group was expected to do the same, but had to cancel its meeting because the policy language was not finished being drafted. It is now scheduled to meet on Monday morning. Similar meetings are scheduled for the Legacy (today) and Agriculture/Broadband (Monday) working groups.
On Thursday, Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio reported that legislative negotiators had wrapped up agreement on the tax bill. Leaders had previously announced that federal conformity on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness and unemployment insurance would be included in the agreement. Yesterday, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) stated that an extension of the historic tax credit was also part of the deal.
Speaking of Taxes, Revenues Way Up
The state collected 119% more general fund revenues than was projected in May, bringing in $3.306 billion in the month. Because tax filing deadlines were shifted from April to May, it was expected that revenues would exceed projections. Even accounting for this shift, receipts for the fiscal year are still 10.4% more ($2.17 billion) than projected. Unless a new official forecast is completed, which is not expected, excess revenues will not be available for the legislature to spend until the 2022 legislative session.
Special Session Monday, and Beyond
The legislature will be back for its first special session of 2021 on Monday, June 14, as Governor Tim Walz renews his emergency powers. Although he has indicated that he hopes the need for the peacetime emergency will come to an end, it is likely that the legislature will be back in July to repeat the exercise. Although legislative leaders had originally hoped that Monday’s special session would only last one day, the legislature is now expected to be in session until the budget is passed, which is expected to happen prior to July 1.