Deadline nears for tax relief plan without a deal

Published 8:13 am Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ST. PAUL — With tax breaks on everything from child care expenses to college tuition hanging in limbo, Minnesota lawmakers appear increasingly unlikely to meet Gov. Mark Dayton’s goal of enacting a substantial relief package this week.

The Senate is still assembling a bill to match up with the House’s approved $500 million in cuts. Failure to adopt a compromise bill soon could mean taxpayers have to file amended returns to reap tax cuts, if they bother with the hassle at all.

Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Rod Skoe said Monday he hopes to pass a bill by the end of the week. He didn’t say what he’ll include or leave out of the bill, but strongly hinted it will differ from the House’s measure. That means more steps — and more time — to get a final version to Dayton.

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Minnesota’s budget situation has improved dramatically since last year. The 2013 Legislature raised $2.1 billion in taxes to help close a deficit. The state now has a projected $1.2 billion surplus.

Some of the tax breaks would be achieved by lining up Minnesota’s tax code more closely with federal deductions and exemptions. Some of the exemptions would be retroactive to 2013, while others wouldn’t be applicable until next year.