Legislature and Dayton moved quickly on income tax conformity and Mayo funding fix

The Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton worked quickly on at least one issue: They’ve made changes to Minnesota tax law so it matches the federal law, making it safe for Minnesotans to file those 1040s for 2014.

In the same legislation, which Dayton signed Saturday, there’s a provision to fix some wording in the original bill providing public funding for the Destination Medical Center project in Rochester.

The governor’s office says 200,000 Minnesotans will save money because of the tax conformity legislation and gives this breakdown:

  • Students and Families – More than 40,000 college students and their families paying for higher education tuition will see a tax break.
  • Teachers – More than 60,000 teachers will be eligible for a tax deduction for the books, art supplies, and other materials they purchase for their classrooms.
  • Homeowners – More than 96,000 new homeowners who pay mortgage insurance premiums for their residences will see a tax break. Additionally, homeowners struggling to recover from the housing crisis – those who suffered through a short sale or refinanced their homes – will get relief by excluding the discharge of their debt from their income. 
  • Special Needs Minnesotans – The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) allows disabled or blind Minnesotans to set up a tax-free ABLE account. Modeled after 529 college plans, ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without losing government benefits, and make withdrawals for expenses such as housing, health care, and employment training. 

The Destination Medical Center/Rochester item also sailed through, as expected. It was considered a technical issue, flagged by the Attorney General’s office after last session.

The 20-year Rochester project calls for $6 billion in private investment to help the city with a major expansion of the Mayo Clinic. The Legislature agreed to add $327 million in state money for infrastructure as the project moves forward. Local governments will also contribute to the project.

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