ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

In a prelude to a bigger debate, Minnesota lawmakers have taken their opening looks at plans to apply the state sales tax to online purchases and expensive apparel.

A state Senate subcommittee on Wednesday reviewed a series of sales tax bills, including the one to make clothing sales above $200 taxable. No votes were taken, but lawmakers are just plunging into a debate over how to balance the budget and remake the tax code.

The clothing tax is the more controversial of the two. A Mall of America official says an apparel tax would hurt tourism because the current no-tax pitch is powerful.

Business groups with a major Capitol presence want the state to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases, saying it would erase a competitive disadvantage for brick-and-mortar stores.