Tax committee focuses on health and wellness

The Tax Committee took a health care focus this week, considering two bipartisan bills aimed at supporting Minnesota’s health care workforce and promoting more employer involvement in their employees’ health. The first bill would create a temporary, $5,000 tax credit pilot program for health care professionals willing to serve as unpaid preceptors to medical residents still in training. The idea stems from the Legislative Healthcare Workforce Commission, which heard stories of students’ graduation dates being delayed by up to a year because of the lack of preceptors, which are a necessary part of medical students’ degree requirements. In other cases, medical students are paying preceptors out of their own pockets to act in a mentorship role. The tax credits would be one tool to support the growing industry and address health care workforce shortages across the state.

The committee also considered a bill to exempt employee-provided fitness benefits from taxes. Employees must currently report employer-paid benefits for utilizing fitness facilities as wages and pay taxes on that sum. The bill discussed this week would provide up to a $30 tax credit per year to offset the tax impact of what the bill sponsors say is a necessary, important benefit that should be encouraged among more employers. Both bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the committee’s omnibus bill (SF 139, SF 687).