Minnesota State House of Representatives Republicans have indicated tax relief would be a cornerstone of the 2017 session and they’ve taken steps to  follow through on the mission.

The House on Thursday fast-tracked into passage $21.7 million in immediate tax relief for Minnesotans by bringing the state’s tax code into compliance with federal provisions. This action was necessary by Jan. 11 in order for tax software programs to be updated in time for qualifying Minnesotans to take advantage of available reductions this tax season.

“Tax relief is something we spent the last several months talking about and it’s good to make progress so quickly,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “Passage of this bill so early in the session will provide valuable relief in time for the upcoming tax season. It should be noted this is only the first step in what we are looking to deliver in terms of tax relief. A number of proposals to reduce our taxes significantly will be offered by the House as the session progresses.”

Key provisions of the bill (H.F. 2) include:

• Providing deductions for higher education expenses

• Providing deductions for teacher classroom expenses up to $250

• Excluding compensation from taxable income for those who were wrongfully incarcerated

• Eliminating the need for two sets of depreciation schedules for those who purchase work equipment

• Providing an itemized deduction for mortgage insurance premiums

• Excluding from gross income loan forgiveness on home foreclosures

• Allowing the tax paid on high-cost employer health care coverage to be claimed as an itemized deduction

The bill is now in the hands of the Senate, which must provide approval before Gov. Mark Dayton can enact it.