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It's getting more expensive to be born in Minnesota. Marriage costs are up, too.

That's the finding of a new report from Minnesota 2020, a nonprofit group that says state fees for birth certificates, hunting permits, marriage licenses and more rose 21 percent above inflation in the past five years.

The group, headed by the former DFL leader of the Minnesota House, used numbers from the state budget to lay out an attack on Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, saying he's allowed fees to increase well above inflation while drawing attention to his stand against taxes.

Six years ago, the state collected $384 in fees per person; today it's about $464 in numbers adjusted for inflation, according to the group's report, released at a news conference Sunday.

"The question is, who's going to be honest about what's going on?" said Matt Entenza, chairman of Minnesota 2020 and a potential DFL gubernatorial candidate in 2010.

A spokesman for Pawlenty dismissed the report.

"What a surprise that this group, which should be called 'The Matt Entenza Political Rehabilitation Committee,' has put out another report critical of Governor Pawlenty," Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said in an e-mail. "The governor has worked to hold government accountable and let taxpayers keep more of their money."

Some of the fees cited in the report:

• A marriage license now costs $110, up from $70 five years ago.

• A birth certificate costs $40 to replace, up from $20.

• And a pheasant stamp costs $7.50, up from $5.

The fees add up to a $2.44 billion pool of money for the state's coffers last year; state taxes, meanwhile, totaled about $17.5 billion in 2008.

That's a lot of money, but the state's overall revenue still fell about 4 percent this year below 2003 levels, with a 9 percent drop forecast for next year, according to the report's author, Jeff Van Wychen, a consultant to various counties and school districts and a Minnesota 2020 researcher. That's left local governments scrambling to make up for the dollars lost in state aid.

The heavier reliance on fees has also pushed a larger burden of the state's finances onto the lower and middle class, since a flat fee poses a relatively larger expense the lower a person's income.

College and university students won't be surprised to see another finding in the report: Tuition at state colleges and universities has climbed 22 percent above inflation since 2003.

Several pages of the report zero in on Minnesota's "health impact fee," a 75-cent charge tacked on to every pack of cigarettes that was signed into law during the 2005 session. Pawlenty said it was a fee and did not violate his ban on new taxes; others say it's a tax.

Whatever one calls it, the money collected from the new charge pushed state fee revenue to an all-time high of $496 per person in Minnesota. It has since dropped about $32 per person for reasons that Van Wychen said were not clear.

The group released its report as the Legislature prepares to convene Tuesday, facing a $5.2 billion budget deficit.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329