MN lawmakers make final push before midnight deadline

AT THE CAPITOL: 2013 session comes to a close

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A game of chicken played out at the Minnesota Capitol on the final day of session.

BUDGET BILL

At about 2 a.m. Monday morning, the House passed a budget bill with $2.1 billion in tax increases. The bill creates a fourth-tier tax bracket for the top 2 percent of earners: Joint filers with an annual income over $250,000 and single earners who make over $150,000 a year will see their income taxes jump. Around 54,400 taxpayers would pay a higher income tax, tacking on an average of $7,200 each year.

Cigarette taxes will increase $1.60 per pack, with some of that money slated for the state's share of the new Vikings stadium.

The bill also provides $400 million in property tax relief, takes away some corporate tax preferences and some businesses will be subjected to the sales tax.

The taxes would help to balance a $38.3 billion state budget over the next two years.

Yet, the House seemed to be holding the bill from the Senate in an attempt to add more construction projects. The Senate was in recess for most of the night.

NO ALCOHOL TAX 

Lawmakers and Gov. Dayton decided alcohol would be spared. However, the Capitol might be selling beer and wine in the German rathskeller-style cafeteria. After its Monday passage, the bill that would direct the city of St. Paul to issue a liquor license heads to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

CAPITOL RENOVATIONS REVIVED

Extensive work on the 107-year-old state Capitol is getting the go-ahead from Minnesota lawmakers in a late financial rescue package.

A borrowing proposal that came together on the Legislature's final day includes $109 million for the next phase of a renovation to the deteriorating building. The money was needed this year to keep underway construction from halting. A new parking ramp will be authorized, but paid for with fees from users.

The package is the result of high-level negotiations involving majority Democrats and minority Republicans, testament to the supermajority it requires for passage.

Aside from the Capitol project is an $18.9 million award for a new Minneapolis Veterans Home building that will garner a big federal match. There is also $20 million for flood mitigation projects.

UNION BILL PASSES HOUSE

A bill allowing day care and home care providers to unionize passed in the House on Monday afternoon on a 68-66 vote. 

The Senate passed the measure after a 17-hour debate last week while the House took it up for the third time in two days on Monday afternoon. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign.

The bill would affect personal care attendants for the disabled and elderly and in-home child care providers who accept state subsidized payments from low-income parents. 

It would allow union members to bargain for higher reimbursements from the state and the option to file grievances, but child care workers would not have the right to strike.

NO MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

House and Senate leaders couldn't agree on a rate, so the minimum wage debate has taken its final breath for the year. Democrats had pushed to make raising Minnesota's minimum wage a top priority, but it was put on hold at the Capitol during the final days of the session. The House approved a bill to raise the minimum wage in three stages until the hourly minimum reaches $9.50 by 2015, while the Senate's version topped out at $7.75 per hour.

EDUCATION BILL TO GOV. DAYTON'S DESK

The K-12 education bill passed Sunday and is on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton.

As part of the $15.7 billion education bill, most parents will have access to free, all-day kindergarten beginning fall of 2014. The bill also includes scholarships for lower-income families to send their kids to quality preschools, $40 million to special education and an end to high school graduation GRAD tests. It also raises the age at which students can drop out of high school from 16 to 17.

TAX JUDGE VOTED OUT

The Senate voted unanimously, 57-0, to oust tax judge George Perez after Gov. Dayton urged a no-confirmation vote because of misconduct. The Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards on May 10 ruled Judge Perez had violated the code of conduct and ordered a nine-month suspension.

"I believe that Judge Perez's reported misconduct violates the integrity of our state's judicial system," Dayton told the Senate.

MAYO RENNOVATION

Rochester will see $585 million in state and local tax dollars to revamp the city and allow a new building that Mayo calls the "Destination Medical Center."

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Gov. Dayton has already signed a law that will allow same-sex marriages to commence on Aug. 1, 2013.

Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage and the first Midwestern state to pass it by a legislative vote, joining Delaware and Rhode Island in similar passages within the last 10 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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