ST. PAUL (AP) - A tax package from Senate Republicans would reduce aid to cities and counties while giving them more latitude to raise local sales taxes.

The bill presented Wednesday in the Senate Taxes Committee would also begin a gradual phase-out of the statewide business property tax while adding or expanding sales tax exemptions for commuter airplanes and medical equipment.

The cuts to local governments total about $640 million for the coming two-year budget period.

Taxes Committee Chairwoman Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, says the local aid cuts are revived from a bill vetoed last month by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. She says she hopes Dayton can reconsider the proposal as part of a full budget plan from the Legislature.

The tax panel plans to vote on the bill Friday to meet an internal deadline.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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