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.
“Tax relief is something we spent the last several months talking about and it’s good to make progress so quickly,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “Passage of this bill so early in the session will provide valuable relief in time for the upcoming tax season. It should be noted this is only the first step in what we are looking to deliver in terms of tax relief. A number of proposals to reduce our taxes significantly will be offered by the House as the session progresses.”
Key provisions of the bill (H.F. 2) include:
Providing deductions for higher education expenses
Providing deductions for teacher classroom expenses up to $250
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
The bill is now in the hands of the Senate, which must provide approval before Gov. Mark Dayton can enact it.
Republicans also Thursday moved to bring to a vote the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill (H.F. 1), which would provide premium relief, extend access to doctors for continuity of care, and begin 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.