ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota Senate has passed a tax bill that Republicans say will help close a $5 billion budget shortfall without state tax increases and make the state a better place to do business.

The GOP tax bill passed Tuesday on a party-line vote of 37-26 after hours of debate on taxes and the state's business climate.

Democrats say the Republican bill favors the wealthy over the poor and disabled and that it will put massive pressure on county officials to hike property taxes.

The Senate bill cuts spending by $580 million and extends property tax relief to businesses by eliminating the statewide property tax on businesses entirely over the next dozen years. It reduces aid to local governments and trims a property tax refund for renters.

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

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