By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While all eyes will be on Washington Monday for the inauguration, here at home the focus will shift to St. Paul. On Tuesday, Gov. Dayton will present his budget.

Among the controversial proposals to close the $1.1 billion budget gap is a sales tax on clothing. The legislature also has a number of controversial measures including gun control and gay marriage that will likely be debated.

With Democrats in control in St. Paul, it’s a question of how far they want to push their agenda.

There is an old saying: “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.” Democrats in St. Paul are in that position controlling the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in more than a generation.

So it should be pretty easy for them, right?

Taxes on the rich, legalizing gay marriage and stricter gun control laws are measures many DFLers have called for in the past. But not so fast — there are divisions within the DFL and disagreement on how far to push their agenda.

House Speaker Paul Thissen appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning. Thissen said changes need to be made to the tax structure.

He said that likely means raising taxes on the wealthy but he said he does not personally support a tax on clothing.

“Right now I don’t know if a tax on clothing is the first place that I would look,” he said. “First we need to look at all aspects of it, what is fair, what is going to bring us stability and what is going to keep us economically competitive in this global economy.”

In the back of some DFLers minds is the belief that when Republicans gained control of the House and the Senate in 2010, they overreached by putting constitutional amendments on gay marriage and voter ID on the ballot.

Those amendments went down to defeat and are widely blamed for Republicans losses in 2012 — a cautionary tale that has some DFL leaders urging colleagues to be careful.

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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