Get ready to pay more

To the Editor:

Are you ready to pay higher taxes to your state government this April?

Your taxes are set to rise due to the failure of Minnesota Democrats to enact federal tax conformity.

More than 50 new tax and fee increases were passed by legislative Democrats and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last session. So it is somewhat ironic that the one thing they chose not to approve – federal tax conformity – will inflict even greater financial harm on all hard-working Minnesotans by forcing them to pay even more to their state government.

Without federal tax conformity, Minnesota’s taxpayers will not be able to claim a number of helpful deductions that are filed on their federal returns.

In short, eliminating state deductions means a lowered tax refund or a greater amount owed to the state of Minnesota at tax time.

Among the lost deductions: home mortgage insurance premiums, food items to a local food shelf, educator expenses and student loan interest. Child care expenses; scholarships and other higher education financial assistance deductions; and employer-provided transit or parking benefits also will be impacted.

The provision many Minnesotans will notice is the marriage penalty, which occurs when a family filing jointly enters a higher income-tax bracket than if it had filed separately. An estimated 650,000 Minnesota families will pay on average $120 more per year in taxes thanks to Democratic inaction.

If the Democrats fail to address this issue next session, many Minnesotans won’t be able to claim the same deductions or credits on their state tax form that they have in previous years. It’s funny that the DFL campaigned on “tax the rich,” but by ignoring federal tax conformity they have once again found another way to ensure that every Minnesotan pays more.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,