ST. PAUL (AP) - The up-to-$500 tax rebate every Minnesota homeowner would get under Gov. Mark Dayton's budget is provoking a sharp legislative debate over the best route for property tax relief.

Dayton's plan for giving 1.5 million homeowners a tax break beginning next year was a flashpoint Tuesday as legislative committees examined the governor's broader tax package.

Republicans accuse Dayton of an election-year ploy and say there is nothing to stop local governments from eroding the tax relief with levy hikes. Democratic leaders at the Capitol say they're not wedded to the idea of an across-the-board rebate, which would provide direct relief on the first $500 of a property owner's bill.

Dayton responds that GOP criticism is "crass," and says he's responding to a top tax concern among the public.

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