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Senate bill provides additional tax relief

On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation to conform to federal tax provisions and concurred with the House enabling Minnesota to expand health care coverage.

The Senate passed legislation conforming to the federal tax provisions for 2012 and sent it to the House. The purpose of the federal tax conformity bill is to update Minnesota’s tax code so it matches federal provisions for tax year 2012, allowing Minnesotans to receive additional tax relief.

In normal circumstances, Minnesota would have conformed to the 2012 federal tax deductions during the corresponding tax year. However, last year’s fiscal cliff debate in Congress caused delays, thereby slowing our state’s ability to conform to the federal tax deductions.

Passing this bill early in the session is a major goal fellow lawmakers and I share. For many families across Minnesota, these federal deductions mean hundreds of more dollars in returns. This money is something people have come to rely on each year and so it is important that the governor signs this legislation into law soon.

The Senate also passed, on a bi-partisan vote, legislation expanding medical assistance eligibility. The bill now sits with Gov. Dayton and waits for his signature. This legislation expands eligibility up to 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

The health care expansion moves low-income earners off of the state health care system and over to the federally funded Medicare Assistance program. Minnesotans are already paying for a majority of this population through MNCare or uncompensated care. The transfer to Medical Assistance will save the state about $130 million over the next two years.

Sen. Rod Skoe