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RELEASE: HOUSE REPUBLICANS TAKE ACTION ON TAXES, HEALTH CARE; DEMOCRATS BLOCK PREMIUM RELIEF

Thursday, January 5, 2017

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.

“Getting federal tax conformity passed today was important for the Minnesota taxpayer,” said Rep. Steve Green (R-Fosston). “As a result, Minnesotans will experience a smoother filing process, while also ensuring they receive their proper return.”

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

"Republicans were ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on top priorities for Minnesota families in week one," 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 Minnesota tax filers, it's incredibly disappointing that Democrats would block emergency aid for those struggling with the health care crisis. 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."

“I would like to echo the comments of Speaker Daudt and say that I am also disappointed that Democrats blocked much needed premium relief today for Minnesotans,” said Green. “These folks deserve relief and we needed to provide it. Today should have been the beginning of a long series of reforms to repair our health insurance system. However, I am confident that we will be able to accomplish this later in session.”

Without quick approval of Rep. Greg 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.

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