Minnesota’s House Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would create a “loan guarantee program” for furloughed workers or those working without pay during the government shutdown.
House File (HF) 319 calls for the establishment of a “personal loan guarantee program to support affected employees by providing guaranteed personal loans” within Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.
HF 319 was introduced by Rep. Zack Stephenson (D-Coon Rapids) and is co-sponsored by six other DFL state representatives. On Twitter Thursday, Stephenson said he was “really proud of this bill,” stating that “our federal workers deserve an end to the financial squeeze.”
Our federal workers deserve an end to the financial squeeze. I’m really proud of this bill. https://t.co/iVIa05LQnu
— Zack Stephenson (@zackstephenson) January 24, 2019
Under his personal loan program, employees affected by a shutdown would not be required to “repay in part or in full the personal loan” before the end of a “grace period,” defined by Stephenson as the “90-day period after an affected employee’s federal agency is funded and the shutdown ends.”
The personal loans wouldn’t begin to accumulate interest until 180 days after the grace period, and would be repaid in equal installments “of no less than three and no more than six.”
The loans couldn’t exceed $5,000, the affected employee’s most recent monthly net pay, or “four times the amount the affected employee has reported to the financial institution in weekly unemployment compensation benefits that the employee has received or is eligible to receive.”
Additionally, affected workers can reapply for a personal loan at the end of each 30-day period that the shutdown continues, and are eligible to receive up to three personal loans. While the bill was introduced, Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) was meeting with Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho and senior residents to discuss the impact of the shutdown.
“Finding housing that’s affordable is a challenge that affects every corner of Minnesota, and the federal government shutdown threatens to take us backward,” Walz wrote on Twitter. “I will continue working closely with state agencies and [the Minnesota Legislature] to monitor this situation and determine how we can help protect our own.”
Finding housing that's affordable is a challenge that affects every corner of MN, and the federal gov't shutdown threatens to take us backward.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) January 24, 2019
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Zack Stephenson” by Zack Stephenson. Photo “Mike Freiberg” by Mike Freiberg. Photo “Andrew Carlson” by Andrew Carlson. Background Photo “Minnesota Capital” by McGhiever. CC BY-SA 4.0.