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Mondale-Carlson group weighs in on Minn. shutdown

MINNEAPOLIS -- A commission convened by former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson says Minnesota should raise cigarette, alcohol and income taxes to end a week-old government shutdown.

The report released Thursday says a $5 billion deficit could be erased by cutting $3.6 billion in projected spending and raising $1.4 billion in taxes.

Tax recommendations include a temporary, across-the-board income tax increase of 4 percent, a cigarette tax hike of $1.29 per pack, higher alcohol taxes and a human services surcharge.

The panel was picked by Mondale, a Democrat, and Carlson, a Republican, to help break the stalemate between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers.

Republicans are opposed to higher taxes. Dayton has pushed a plan he says would spare all but the highest earners from tax increases.

It's not clear that the commission's recommendations will matter. GOP leaders were cool to the panel when Mondale and Carlson formed it earlier this week. Dayton issued a statement saying he disagreed with an across-the board tax increase, preferring instead an increase on only the state's highest earners.