What the New Federal Covid Relief Bill Means for Minnesota
The $900 billion federal Covid relief package passed by Congress Monday night has lots to like for state governments. Two pieces in the proposed law in particular resolve spending issues debated before and during last week’s special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
By extending federal unemployment insurance benefits by 11 weeks for about 120,000 Minnesotans, the bill will negate the need for Minnesota to provide those benefits and cancel a plan to borrow up to $200 million from the federal treasury (thought the state plan was to add 13 weeks, not 11). That borrowing might have forced a future repayment by the state and the employers who pay into the state’s unemployment trust fund. The unemployment insurance provisions in the new bill will also add $300 per week on top of current state benefits through March 14.
The bill also distributes $25 billion to the states for rental assistance. How the money is divided among states and what the rules are isn’t yet clear. But on a per capita basis, Minnesota could see $375 million. That compares to the $100 million that was drawn from the state’s share of the original CARES Act for rental and mortgage assistance. That money was spent between August and December.