With special session on horizon, Walz calls for bipartisan support on relief package amid COVID-19

UPDATE: Walz, House Republicans release separate economic relief plans to help small businesses, workers

Tuesday, state leaders are hoping to address the financial fallout Minnesota businesses are facing with the pandemic and the new restrictions now in place.

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call for a special session to pass a state relief package. This could be one area where the governor and Republicans are in agreement.

Walz said he feels this should be a quick special session, but GOP leadership tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they’ve been left in the dark about a plan so they’ve made their own.

"It’s absolutely critical that we get something quickly to these businesses, we get something that makes a material difference to them, and bridges the gap until the federal government does what they need to do,” Walz said.

Before that federal package is cleared, Walz said he hopes the state can help with sales tax forgiveness, waiving certain state fees, food tax credits and grants for businesses providing food for health care works and homeless shelters, and direct help for individuals.

"As I’ve said time and time again, you should not have to bear the brunt of the financial impact alone, all Minnesotans share in that, so I think this package will be a great way to do that,” Walz said. “Again, I will reiterate to our federal partners, to the outgoing administration, to the incoming Biden administration, please work together.”

There are similarities to the GOP plan 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has been able to get a look at. Additionally, GOP leadership said it hopes for any unused COVID-19 relief money to be used for businesses and their employees, loan payment pauses, and allowing to-go alcohol once again.

Walz could call a special session to order as early as Tuesday, with relief for these businesses just in time for the holiday.