GOP's Zellers: Tax hike would have hurt MN vs other states

Posted at 11:45 AM on July 15, 2011 by Paul Tosto

Minnesota would have risked damaging its business climate compared to other states if it had raised income taxes, Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers said today.

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Calling in to MPR's Midday program, Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said Republicans went into the legislative session philosophically believing there was no need to use a tax increase to balance the budget. "For a lot of our folks, that's what it came down to."

He also said members worried that any tax hike would put Minnesota at a disadvantage versus other Midwest states that had kept taxes in check, that Minnesota would be seen as an "outlier."

While there's always a chance of a breakdown, Zellers indicated he believes the Republican votes will be there to pass the budget deal despite unhappiness among some lawmakers.

He also reiterated there's been no discussion about a new Vikings stadium as part of the upcoming special session to deal with the budget.

He said he hadn't talked about the Vikings for weeks. "It's all about us getting the bills passed that get the state running again."

He also appeared to channel the feedback he's received from constituents about the possibility a prolonged shutdown with no alcohol regulation would have stopped the flow of beer in Minnesota. "For the love of God," he said, "get the Miller beer and Blue Moon back on the shelves!"

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