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By Dave Beal, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, Minn. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
May 14--As deadlocked legislators stumble toward a special session, they are overlooking possibly the most obvious single piece of the solution to Minnesota's massive budget shortfall: extending the state's 6 1/2 percent sales tax to clothing.
A sales tax on clothing would generate an estimated $900 million for the 2004-'05 biennium. That's more than a fifth of the $4.2 billion the state needs to balance its budget.
Taxing clothing also would produce more revenue for cities that hitch local sales taxes onto the state's sales tax. For the city of St. Paul, it would mean about $1 million.
That seems like peanuts, but it's enough …