ST. PAUL – House Republicans have indicated tax relief would be a cornerstone of the 2017 session and it took them less than three days to start following through on their mission.
The House on Thursday fast-tracked into passage $21.7 million in immediate tax relief for Minnesotans by bringing the state’s tax code into compliance with federal provisions. This action was necessary by Jan. 11 in order for tax software programs to be updated in time for qualifying Minnesotans to take advantage of available reductions this tax season.
“The fact the House passed this bill so quickly shows just how serious we are about delivering tax relief to Minnesotans,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “But it’s not as if we look at this and say our job is done. In fact, this early success should only inspire us to stay on the throttle the rest of the session as we introduce a number of other bills to significantly reduce the tax load that is burdening people in our state.”
Key provisions of the bill (H.F. 2) include:
Providing deductions for higher education expenses
Providing deductions for teacher classroom expenses up to $250
Excluding compensation from taxable income for those who were wrongfully incarcerated
Eliminating the need for two sets of depreciation schedules for those who purchase work equipment
Providing an itemized deduction for mortgage insurance premiums
Excluding from gross income loan forgiveness on home foreclosures
Allowing the tax paid on high-cost employer health care coverage to be claimed as an itemized deduction
Republicans also Thursday moved to bring to a vote the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill (H.F. 1), which would have provided premium relief, extended access to doctors for continuity of care, and begun to reform the individual market. Democrats blocked the measure, despite agreeing days earlier to suspend the rules in order to expedite premium relief for Minnesotans.
“It is extremely disappointing Democrats would prevent relief from reaching Minnesotans who are being overwhelmed by health insurance costs,” Swedzinski said. “They didn’t just break their word, they shattered the hopes of citizens who are counting on the Legislature to help them.”