Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was expected to call for compromise in negotiations to replenish the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund and to pay frontline worker bonuses during his State of the State address Sunday.
Legislative leaders are deadlocked on the unemployment insurance issue, causing an automatic tax increase on employers statewide after lawmakers missed a March 15 deadline. Walz criticized the Legislature this week for not reaching an agreement, saying lawmakers should have settled both issues in January and that he will provide a path forward during his address.
“I’m going to call for us to get that done,” the Democrat said Wednesday. “Because the deadline is truly upon us, and it’s simply fiscally irresponsible not to deal with it.”
Senate Republicans want to use $2.7 billion to refill the trust fund. But House Democrats have tied that to a $1 billion proposal to give $1,500 checks to frontline workers who braved the pandemic, up from $250 million agreed to by both sides last year that wasn’t doled out.
Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Thursday that legislative leaders expect to resume negotiations Monday. She said she’s optimistic they can reach a deal by April 30, which is when tax payments are due for employers.