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A few hundred people listen to speakers at the annual Tax Cut Rally, sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, at the state Capitol on Saturday, April 28, 2012, in St. Paul. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

Anti-tax group's Minn. rally attracts big figure

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More than 600 people gathered at the Minnesota Capitol for the Taxpayer Freedom Rally on Saturday.

Majority President Dan McGrath said the annual anti-tax rally is the biggest annual conservative gathering in the state and is particularly important this year after a tough election for Republicans.

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"This is a great opportunity to get people remotivated," McGrath said. "There are a lot of dejected people. And I think it helps re-energize them."

Among those addressing the crowd were state legislators, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, talk show host Jason Lewis and national anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, according to the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/1649yOY ).

"We just want to be left alone," Norquist said. "The left is like a teenage boy on a prom date; they keep asking for the same thing in different ways."

The 2014 election was referenced by both Bachmann, who is headed for a rematch with St. Cloud businessman Jim Graves, and Lewis, who's been mentioned as a potential challenger to U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

"The recovery begins in Washington when Al Franken loses his job," Lewis said to cheers.

Norquist's visit coincides with a debate in the Legislature over a range of tax increases.

The Democratic majorities have advanced bills that would raise high-end income tax rates, taxes on alcohol, clothes and other things. They want the money to close a budget gap, pay off old debt and give aid increases to schools and additional priorities.

The House passed a tax proposal last week. The Senate is due to vote on its tax plan Monday.

Karleen Bushard of Crystal said she hasn't missed the rally in more than a decade. The software developer said she and her husband are more concerned about the impact taxes will have on their future as they approach retirement.

"It seems they're (politicians) encroaching more and more in places they don't have any business," she said.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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