Minnesota House passes sweeping tax bill, including on alcohol

8:15 AM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota House lawmakers have voted to raise taxes on beer, wine and liquor for the first time in a generation.

The alcohol tax is part of a much larger tax bill that passed Wednesday on a 69-64 vote.

The tax bill would also assess higher tax rates on cigarettes, some corporations and certain incomes that are six figures and up. The overall $2.6 billion in new revenue would be used to balance the state budget and pay off past debts to schools and other entities.

The alcohol tax isn't in a companion Senate bill, so its fate beyond the House vote is uncertain.

The booze tax is assessed on the wholesale level. But consumers would likely pay more as the cost is passed through the production and retail chain.

Mayo Expansion

The tax bill would also commit about $400 million in state taxpayer dollars to the City of Rochester, to accomodate the Mayo-driven Destination Medical Center project.

It calls for a massive build-out of the clinic with a promise of spinoff retail, dining and entertainment development around the state's third largest city. Private investment could top $5 billion.

The state contribution would pay for public infrastructure essential to the development and not for construction on Mayo's property.

The Senate's version contains more state dollars for the Mayo plan, but it would also require private investors to ante up more before the public money flows.

No Republicans from the Rochester area voted for the bill. Two Rochester Democrats did.

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