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Talking Points: Solving MN’s Budget Woes With Taxes?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The democrats may be in control at the state Capitol but they certainly cannot agree on how to solve the state’s budget problems.

From taxing the beer you buy to taxes on clothes to increasing taxes on high earners, the house, senate and the governor differ sharply on what to do.

It’s more than a generation since one party has been in control of the Minnesota House, Senate and governor’s office. But that hasn’t made it easier for democrats in St. Paul to agree on how to handle the budget.

There are sharp disputes, on among other issues raising taxes on high earners and property tax relief. Among the most controversial ideas is the house proposal to raise the tax on alcoholic drinks by 7 cents a glass.

The senate has its own controversial idea — senators want to tax clothing sales. The governor says he won’t go for the clothing tax but he is not ruling out backing an alcohol tax. So who is going to budge on these hot button pocketbook issues?

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Hayden appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning. I asked him if senators could line up behind the liquor tax hike.

“Seven cents a glass sounds reasonable until you start talking to the wholesalers that are in the business and they are saying it could be much more,” Sen. Hayden said. “It could be up to $4. Four dollars for a case of beer that seems like really, really a tough sell for Minnesotans. So we are not sure if we are going to be able to do that.”

There is one tax policy that the governor, senate and house all agree on and that is an increase in the cigarette sales tax but the amount they want to raise the tax varies from just under a dollar to $1.60 a pack.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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