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Published May 16, 2013, 10:40 PM

Proposed MN liquor tax increase could harm local businesses

Minnesota's current legislative session may result in a 600 percent alcohol tax increase. Beer, wine and spirit taxes could be raised, but while this may not pose many problems to restaurants and bars in central Minnesota border cities like East Grand Forks will take a hit.

By: Victor Correa, WDAZ

Minnesota's current legislative session may result in a 600 percent alcohol tax increase. Beer, wine and spirit taxes could be raised, but while this may not pose many problems to restaurants and bars in central Minnesota border cities like East Grand Forks will take a hit.

Minnesota already has high liquor taxes when compared to surrounding states. If this bill is passed local residents may be crossing the river next time they get thirsty.

Minnesotans may be looking for a new watering hole if the alcohol taxes are raised. East Grand Forks restaurant owners know this won't be good for business.

David Raymond, Whitey's General Manager: "We're already at a great deal of competitive disadvantage compared to North Dakota. Obviously it's going to hurt us because we're a border city and when you can go across the bridge and not have to deal with that tax, you know."

A barrel of beer in Minnesota currently costs $33. It's $27 in North and South Dakota and only $18 in Wisconsin. If this tax hike goes through, Minnesotans could see barrels of beer at $56!

James O'Shea, Boardwalk General Manager: "In an area where we're already so much higher than North Dakota, to keep competitive with the other businesses that are already operating over there just makes it tougher."

Victor Correa: O' Shea is worried about the proposed raise, but is hopeful that this will give North Dakota the incentive to raise their alcohol prices but still be lower than Minnesota.

Raymond: "Yeah, i mean, I guess if i owned a restaurant in north dakota I'd probably be thinking about that.

While no decision has been made yet, it's the border towns like East Grand that will suffer the most.

Raymond: "All we can do here is pass the tax on, that's what's going to end up happening."

Many of the bar and restaurant owners are relying on their favored food to keep them in business.

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