ST. PAUL — State lawmakers said they want to make sure restaurants, bars and other businesses affected by COVID-19 executive orders would still be able to receive liquor deliveries even if they have tax delinquencies associated with the pandemic.
The House Tax Committee on Wednesday, April 8, unanimously voted in support of a bill that would let the Department of Revenue Commissioner avoid posting a public notice about businesses that failed to pay sales and use or franchise taxes if they were adversely affected by Minnesota's executive orders closing bars, restaurants and areas of public amusement.
Businesses that can't pay their taxes are posted by the department and are not allowed to receive deliveries of alcoholic beverages from manufacturers or distributors. But as business owners attempt to weather the new restrictions, especially after executive orders lift, they should have some flexibility to keep stocking alcoholic beverages even if they're late in paying their taxes.
The plan wouldn't waive a business' requirement to pay, Rep. Paul Marquart, D-Dilworth, said. Marquart said he brought the plan to help business late filing taxes to "keep them afloat during this unheard of emergency." He said he'd not yet heard from Senate Republicans but believed the bill could pass both chambers as early as April 14.
“We need to get people across the bridge during this time and into a recovery mode," he said.
But other lawmakers said they anticipated the executive orders, including an extension of the state's stay at home order, could sink Minnesota restaurants and bars before they could re-emerge.
“The governor’s orders are going to be putting people totally out of business,” Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, said. “Delay [the postings] all you want, they’re not in business anymore."
The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association spoke in support of the proposal.