A feisty and patriotic crowd draped in red, white and blue railed against taxes in Minnesota.
"Hardworking taxpayers cannot afford to give one more dime to wasteful and inefficient government," Senate Minority Leader David Hann said.
"We believe we are taxed enough already," Rep. Michele Bachmann said. "We believe that government should not spend more than what it takes in."
What has Michele Bachmann and the rest of them so fired up about controversial tax bills making their way through the legislature. The House created a plan that creates a new tax bracket for those making more than $400,000 a year. It also raises tax on beer, wine and cigarettes. It passed without a single Republican vote.
"Hard-working taxpayers cannot afford Mark Dayton and the DFL majorities in the legislature,"Hann added.
Democratic leaders insist new revenues needed to close a projected deficit provide some property tax relief and put more money into public education.
"We have a deficit," Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) said. "We keep having them and we're tired of them. We want to get rid of them in a permanent, balanced way."
"What this tax bill is about today is allowing to us make the kind of investments that is going to make this state stronger and better," House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) said.
Republicans in this anti-tax crowd argue they would rather see spending cuts and a smaller, more efficient government to balance the state budget as the spotlight now turns to the Senate. That chamber has its own DFL-introduced tax bill on the agenda for the upcoming week. The senate measure includes a spike in the top income tax rate to 9.4 percent, impacting individuals making $80,000 a year and couples earning $141,000.
"Seems like we're taxing anything that comes along, from clothing to alcohol to everything," Eden Prairie man Steve Stuckel said.
It is the Senate's turn to talk taxes on Monday, but with the DFL in control of that chamber as well, they will not need any Republican votes to pass the measure.