Tax bill blunder shows shenanigans in divided Minn. Senate - FOX 10 News |

Tax bill blunder shows shenanigans in divided Minn. Senate

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Minnesota Senate proved it is divided on taxes on Monday after passing a package of income, property and sales tax hikes hours after voting it down.

The back-and-forth provided an ugly glimpse into the sausage factory as the DFL-controlled chamber lost control of its caucus and a bill loaded with nearly $2 billion in taxes went down after seven Democrats abandoned ship on Monday afternoon.

Leaders quickly rushed their members into a back room as Republicans stuck around to gloat.

"They're the party leaders, and if they didn't know the votes they had when it came to the floor, they shouldn't be running it," quipped Minority Leader David Hann.

Yet, Democrats blamed Republicans for switching their votes at the last minute and then flipping back.

"There were at least three Republicans who voted yes," Majority Leader Tom Bakk pointed out. "That kind of trickery isn't very honest."

Even the author of the bill appeared confused and was so busy counting she didn't vote at all.

"My goodness, it's my bill," said Sen. Ann Rest.

After a motion to reconsider the bill was passed and a few more hours of debate, the tax bill passed the second time, but only by one vote and only after a motion to adjourn failed.

"There were shenanigans, but when you're in the minority, that's as much fun as you can have," Bakk said.

After the second vote, Republicans came out with fresh criticism of the DFL caucus.

"The first vote, they voted their conscience and got the word from the party bosses and did what they had to do," said Hann.

The truth is: No one really likes the bill, which would cut state sales tax to 6 percent by dramatically broadening the base of what is taxed -- including clothing, over-the-counter drugs and personal services like haircuts. Tickets to sporting events would also be taxed, as would golf lessons and auto repairs.

The Senate bill also raises the top income tax bracket, meaning a couple making $140,000 annually could see their taxes go up nearly 20 percent.

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