ST. PAUL – House Republicans moved swiftly on Thursday to pass a bill that will simplify this year’s state income tax preparation and save Minnesota taxpayers about $21.7 million they would have had to pay if Minnesota income tax law did not match federal tax provisions.
Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said it is important to bring Minnesota’s state’s tax code into conformity with the federal provisions as soon as possible to allow tax preparers and their software programs to be updated in time to take advantage of available deductions this tax season.
“This is an important first step on making sure Minnesotans get the full benefit of tax credits and deductions that are now allowed at the federal level,” Lueck said. “We all agreed this needed to be done right now and that was reflected by the 130-0 vote in the House.”
The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate and then, upon approval, it can be presented to Gov. Mark Dayton for his action.
Key provisions of the bill (H.F. 2) include:
Provides deductions for higher education expenses
Provides deductions for teacher classroom expenses up to $250
Excludes compensation from taxable income for those who were wrongfully incarcerated
Eliminates the need for two sets of depreciation schedules for those who purchase work equipment
Provides an itemized deduction for mortgage insurance premiums
Excludes from gross income loan forgiveness on home foreclosures
Allows the tax paid on high-cost employer health care coverage to be claimed as an itemized deduction
Republicans also 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 state’s health insurance market. Democrats in the house blocked the measure from moving forward by voting against suspending regular House order and allowing expedited passage of the bill.
“It was deeply disappointing to see my friends across the aisle refuse to join us in providing immediate assistance with the skyrocketing health insurance premiums that many Minnesotans face in 2017,” Lueck said. “It is simply not fair that people are being forced off their existing health insurance plans and now must again change doctors, hospitals and specialists in the middle of life-threatening illnesses, pregnancy care and acute conditions that demand special attention.
“Despite the foot-dragging by some in St. Paul, we will stay at this until we get it fixed.”