Phillips calls for additional support for Minnesota businesses distressed by the COVID-19 pandemic

July 19, 2021
Press Release
In letters to state and local leaders, Phillips cited live events, hospitality, travel, and fitness industries as sectors hit hardest

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, Rep. Phillips released letters sent to Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and Hennepin County Commissioners requesting their continued support for Minnesota’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

“While many industries are quickly recovering from the pandemic, there remain many who are still experiencing severe revenue declines and have few – if any – options for economic relief, forcing them to consider layoffs or even closure,” Rep Phillips says in the letter. “I know the challenges of finding common ground in this day and age, but I am hopeful that there will be agreement on the need to support those small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, especially those for whom no targeted relief is available at the state or federal level.”

Last year, Congress created a number of relief programs targeted to America’s small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, the (SVOG) program, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Together, these programs saved millions of jobs and countless small businesses, helping pave the way for the economic recovery that has already begun.

(See also: Reps. Phillips, Van Duyne Introduce Bipartisan Restaurant Recovery Fairness Act)

Earlier this year, Rep. Phillips supported and helped pass the American Rescue Plan, which sent $2.8 billion to the state of the Minnesota through the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Among eligible uses for these funds are loans and grants to small businesses to offset the economic hardships posted by steep declines in revenue, temporary closures, and efforts to enhance safety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full text of the letter below:  


I write today to encourage your continued support for Minnesota’s small businesses, especially those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all know, these businesses are vital to the long-term economic health of our state, not to mention their many contributions to the quality of life in our communities, making them deserving of additional relief at the state and federal levels.
 

As you know, Minnesota will receive a total of $2.8 billion in federal aid through the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established by the American Rescue Plan, which I proudly supported. Among the eligible uses for these funds are loans and grants to small businesses to offset the economic hardships posed by steep declines in revenue, temporary closures, and efforts to enhance safety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. While I appreciate the inclusion of $70 million for grants to small businesses in the recently-enacted Omnibus Jobs Bill, the need for targeted relief remains, and my hope and my request is that a substantial fund is set up using a portion of the remaining federally allocated dollars.
 

Minnesota does not bear this responsibility alone. Congress created a number of relief programs targeted to America’s small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Together, these programs saved millions of jobs and countless small businesses, helping pave the way for the economic recovery that has already begun.
 

Still, these programs were never intended to address the entirety of the need, which is why I supported the substantial state and local recovery funds included in the American Rescue Plan, and the flexibility to use them in a way that best addressed each state’s unique needs. And while many industries are quickly recovering from the pandemic, there remain many who are still experiencing severe revenue declines and have few – if any – options for economic relief, forcing them to consider layoffs or even closure.
 

This is especially true for those businesses which rely on in-person service or gatherings, including the myriad of businesses that make up our once-thriving live events, travel, and hospitality industries, as well as gyms and fitness centers. I have heard from countless small business owners representing these industries who are desperately searching for options to keep their businesses afloat until the recovery reaches them, and I encourage you as elected leaders of our state to respond with additional relief to these businesses in particular as you consider the various options for uses of the federal ARP funds – especially as federal programs come to an end, or find themselves overextended.
 

I know the challenges of finding common ground in this day and age, but I am hopeful that there will be agreement on the need to support those small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, especially those for whom no targeted relief is available at the state or federal level. Wisconsin recently authorized $480 million from their ARP allotment to fund grants to roughly 96,000 businesses in their state, and others have created similar programs as well. You are the experts when it comes to the needs in our state, and it is my hope that you will be able to identify an amount that meets that need.
 

Thank you for your leadership of our state in these challenging times, and for showing the entire nation that good work can get done even in divided government. I stand ready to support you in whatever way I can. In the meantime, I am grateful for your consideration of this request.