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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Duane Quam (R)

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RELEASE: Statement from Rep. Quam on House Republicans Taking Action on Taxes, Healthcare

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Democrats who created Obamacare disaster block $300 million in relief to provide aid for skyrocketing premiums

ST. PAUL, MN—House Republicans wasted no time getting to work on key session priorities, including health care and tax relief. House File 2, which will result in $21.7 million in tax relief for 220,000 Minnesota tax filers by conforming Minnesota's tax code to the federal tax code, passed Thursday on a vote of 130-0.

“With tax time approaching I am glad we were able to save Minnesotans not only time and hassle by passing the tax conformity bill, but also save them real dollars they can spend on their household budgets,” said Rep. Duane Quam, R-Byron. “The $21.7 million in immediate tax relief for Minnesota taxpayers this year is a great start to making sure hardworking Minnesotans keep more money in their wallets.”

Republicans also moved to declare an urgency and pass The 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill, HF1, 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.

“We all know the multitude of issues with the health care system and its current problematic state needs to be addressed,” said Rep. Quam. “What was disappointing was that this bill contained $15 million to ensure continuity of care for people in chemotherapy treatment and many other life threatening issues. It is disappointing that Democrats chose to block it.”

"Republicans were ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on top priorities for Minnesota families," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "While I'm pleased we were able to pass $22 million in tax relief that will mean more money in the pockets of 220,000 Minnesotans, it's incredibly disappointing that Democrats would block badly-needed premium relief. The same Democrats responsible for Obamacare are now blocking relief from the mess they created. They have had this language for days, agreed to suspend the rules, and today went back on their word and the result is Minnesotans will have to wait even longer for premium relief, continued access to their doctors, and first-steps toward reform for the individual market."

Without quick approval of Davids’ federal tax conformity bill (HF2), Minnesotans who file their taxes early could face higher tax bills, a situation all lawmakers wanted to avoid. Davids was told by the Department of Revenue that in order to avoid tax filing complications, the proposal needs to be signed into law before January 11. The Senate is expected to pass tax conformity in time to meet the January 11th deadline.