Senate passes tax bill after it’s initially defeated

There were a few hiccups along the way but the Minnesota Senate voted for a tax bill that raises income taxes on top earners, increases tobacco taxes and expands the sales tax to clothing and other services.

The bill’s final passage came after the Senate initially defeated the measure. Senate Democrats quickly met in private and then voted to reconsider the initial vote.

Two Democrats switched their votes. Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL- Apple Valley, says he switched his vote from no to yes because he was worried the Senate would not be able to commit to spending priorities if the tax bill failed.

“For me, what it came down to quite honestly is that we made a lot of gains in education,” Clausen said. “I ran on an education platform and I wasn’t willing to put those education investments at risk by not having this tax bill.”

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says several DFL members were confused when a few Republicans signaled they would support the bill but eventually switched to a no vote.

“There were people that voted no because they thought there were plenty of votes up to pass it,” Bakk said. “I think people didn’t realize that people were going to play a little trick when the roll was closed and switch their vote back. I think there would have easily been the same number of votes had the Republicans had been honest and put up their red vote when the roll was called.”

Bakk said he didn’t twist arms to convince Clausen or Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, to switch their votes. Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, also voted for the bill after not voting the first time.

Senate Republicans weren’t buying Bakk’s explanation. They said the first vote was a sign the bill didn’t have strong support.

“The first vote was a vote where the DFL members voted their conscience, they voted their district, they voted the merits of the bill and it failed,” said GOP Senate Majority Leader David Hann. “It shows that this bill does not have the support of the DFL caucus.”

The tax bill now has to be reconciled with a different House bill and Gov. Dayton’s tax proposal.

  • Chad

    Senator Hoffman,

    What happened to all of the rhetoric during the election about being for the middle class? Are the Millionaires of Mayo middle class to you? Taking money from the middle class and handing it to the wealthy? Sounds like crony capitalism to me. You need to be voted out of office.

    With great disgust,

    Chad Newman

    Coon Rapids

  • Chad

    Just kidding. I love you, John.

    Chad Newman

    Coon Rapids

  • Bryan

    Chad, I’ll answer for senator Hoffman…

    “Hi Chad, I’m very sorry that you think this bill as unfair. It may not be perfect as none can satisfy everyone. But it certainly adds much needed revenue to the coffers of the state to support our run-a-way spending problem at the capital. You probably just don’t know how difficult is everyday here in St Paul to make everyone happy. I’m mean, we can’t say no to anyone these days or we may risk being voted out by those people who’s votes we buy every election. Best of luck to you Chad, but the gravy train has left the station, you should have boarded. After all, if you can’t beat them, join them!”