- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A $500 million package containing middle-income tax cuts and the repeal of some business taxes zoomed Thursday through a key committee in the Minnesota House and could reach a floor vote next week.

Only three days into the legislative session, House Tax Committee members approved a plan they say will extend $200 million in tax breaks to married couples, teachers, homeowners and families with adoptive children or kids in college. There’s a mix of immediate and deferred enactment dates, but some filers could see a benefit this spring.

“We’re hurrying because the public is filing their taxes right now,” said Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington.

Republicans on the panel pushed to make it even more ambitious, such as increasing the standard deduction for married filers effective for the 2013 tax year instead of 2014 as the plan now contemplates. But they said they concurred in the need to get the bill approved soon.


“I feel the need for speed,” said Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston. “We need to get going here.”

The plan passes along savings by conforming state tax code to federal changes. It also repeals three sales tax hikes on businesses that Democratic lawmakers passed last year, giving refunds to some who have already paid the taxes.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is on board with the scope of the plan and has asked for a bill by March 14. Senate Democrats, who are in the majority and don’t face voters again until 2016, have been reluctant to sign on until they’re sure the state can afford it.

The state is running an $825 million projected surplus and the lost revenue would count against that. A revised economic report is due Friday.