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• No new tax on liquor, and no surtax to accelerate repayment of the state’s debt to public schools.
• No sales tax on clothing, but an expansion of sales taxes to limited business services and goods.
“We’re on the cusp of an important course correction in our state’s history,” said Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.
Discussions continued on ways to pump more money into state roads and bridges. Dayton, who opposes a gas tax increase, has offered instead to borrow $300 million for highways.
The governor’s transportation package still includes at least a half-cent increase in the metro sales tax for transit. The $300 million would come from state trunk highway bonds.
Mayo Clinic controversy
In the one-step-backward department, frustrated legislators threatened to scrap a plan to send millions in state tax dollars to Rochester to support Mayo Clinic’s downtown makeover. They were patching the deal up late Thursday.
The “House and the Senate have literally moved … heaven and earth to accommodate the Mayo proposal,” House Taxes Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski announced during Thursday morning’s tax conference committee. “I will share my frustration. I’m comfortable waiting until next year.” Later, however, leaders said they hoped to resolve the dispute and keep the project on track for this year.
Mayo spokesman Karl Oestreich said by e-mail that “discussions continue as part of the conference committee negotiations. We’re confident that [Destination Medical Center] will be part of the final legislative package.”
The House and Senate have sent the governor their first budget bill, a measure covering jobs and energy programs. It would reduce the unemployment tax on businesses, spend money on economic development and create a solar standard for utilities. The measure also offers St. Paul loan forgiveness for the Xcel Energy Center and gives incentives to Minnesota-made solar equipment. Later Thursday, legislators also passed a less controversial budget plan to fund public safety programs.
Staff writers Jennifer Brooks, Pat Doyle, Baird Helgeson and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this report.
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