Archive for October 2017

The Freedom to Breathe Act Revisited

Freedom to Breathe Act

10 years ago this month, the state of Minnesota banned smoking in restaurants, bars, and just about all other indoor public spaces and workplaces. The Freedom to Breathe Act prohibited smoking by employers, employees, patrons, and visitors of any workplace or indoor public space that had two or more people working there. While this law…

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Real Per Pupil State Aid Has Declined Since FY 2003

The conservative Minnesota Business Partnership recently challenged our contention that real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil state aid has declined since fiscal year (FY) 2003. North Star’s assertion in regard to declining state aid is completely accurate—if you use an inflation index appropriate to measuring the impact of inflation on school district finances. Only by using…

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Counties with Greatest Income Inequality are Also the Poorest

In recent decades, income inequality has increased, both in Minnesota and nationally. New information from the American Community Survey (ACS) shows that U.S. and Minnesota counties with the highest degree of income inequality also have the highest poverty rates and the lowest median incomes, thereby underscoring the devastating impact of income inequality on low- and…

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Quality Health Care is Non-Negotiable

Efforts to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been wide ranging since its inception, but haven’t accomplished much. This could be because of the deep polarization in Washington, and it is clear that as that the quality and access measures implemented in 2009 are vital parts of our health care system moving forward. The…

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Tax Cut Driven Budget Problems Escalate in Future

The fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 state general fund budget surplus—projected to be $1.65 billion last February—could easily turn into a $104 million deficit after taking into account the tax cuts and other measures enacted earlier this year, as noted in the first part of this series. Because the revenue loss from many of these tax…

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Big Tax Cuts Jeopardize Fiscal Solvency

Going into 2017, Minnesota was looking at a large budget surplus for the upcoming biennium. By the time the dust had settled at the end of the 2017 special session, the surplus had been reduced by nearly ninety percent. After including the impact of lower than expected revenue collections and other factors, the surplus projected…

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