By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just days before the State of the Union address, the White House disclosed a plan Saturday night to increase taxes on the wealthy.

The proposal includes eliminating a tax break on inheritances and imposing a fee on big financial firms. The Obama administration estimates those changes would bring in $320 billion in revenue over a decade.

The money would go toward tax credits for the middle-class and paying for the president’s proposal to make two-year community colleges free.

The proposal is already drawing fire from top Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who appeared this morning on CBS Face the Nation.

“The president is following the notion that for someone to do better, someone else has to do worse,” Rubio said. “This is just not true: Raising taxes on people who are successful is not going to make people who are struggling more successful.”

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken spoke with Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning about the president’s proposal.

“This is about the middle class,” Franken said. “We’ve seen the economy growing and most of the benefits have been going to those at the very top. Our economy always does better when the middle class does better.”

Franken said Republicans are balking “in a knee-jerk way” to the proposal and stressed the importance of finding funding for education initiatives.

“There’s been a barrier to college education in this country because of the cost of college,” he said. “That’s why [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren and I introduced the bill to allow 550,000 Minnesotans to refinance their student debt.”

To see the full interview with Sen. Franken, watch the video above. 

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Kylie Bearse every Sunday at 6 am and 10:30 am.

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