Posts by Jeff Van Wychen

Minnesota thrives, Rauner fails on jobs

The following is a guest commentary that recently appeared in the The State Journal Register of Springfield, Illinois.   The numbers tell a harsh story: since Gov. Bruce Rauner came to office in January 2015, Illinois has been one of only four states nationwide and the only Midwestern state to have lost population. Job growth…

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State Revenues: the Real Story

Minnesota conservatives argue that the state general fund grows bigger and bigger, year in and year out. After adjusting for inflation, however, per capita general fund revenue in Minnesota falls short of levels seen at the beginning of the current century. While the 2013 tax increases have buoyed real per capita general fund revenues, they…

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Enjoy Your Penny While You Can, Homer

A recent blog post from the Center for the American Experiment (CAE)—Minnesota’s right wing think tank—features an overjoyed Homer Simpson. Homer apparently celebrates the “bonuses and pay hikes” that Minnesota workers are supposedly receiving through recent federal tax cuts. Only Homer—a slow-witted sap that can be duped into any harebrained scheme by a bag of…

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Long Live the Death Tax!

Conservatives hate the estate tax, which falls primarily on a tiny sliver of the very wealthiest households. However, criticisms of the estate tax do not hold up well under close scrutiny. We examined the criticism that the estate tax constitutes “double taxation” in the preceding article in this series. Estate tax foes raise other spurious…

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Is the Estate Tax Really “Double Taxation?”

Estate taxes reduce wealth inequality by taxing a portion of huge intergenerational wealth transfers, as noted in the previous installment in this series. Nonetheless, conservatives consistently call for reductions to or elimination of this tax, partly on the grounds that it constitutes “double taxation.” Armed with this assertion in 2017, conservatives reduced this tax both…

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Estate Taxes in the Age of Inequality

Income and wealth inequality has accelerated in recent decades; at the same time, reliance on the progressive estate tax as a state revenue source has waned. Certainly, the decline of the estate tax is not the only—or even a primary—cause for the increase in inequality, but it is an effective remedy for offsetting some of…

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Minnesota Kids Above Average, But Not as Much as They Used to Be

Ten years ago, Minnesota failed to live up to its reputation for having a well-funded public school system relative to other states, as per pupil public school spending in the Gopher State dropped below the national average. While recent increases in school funding have brought per pupil spending in Minnesota once again above the U.S.…

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Minnesota Revenue & Spending Levels Typical of Other States

While Minnesota ranks fairly high among states in terms of per capita own-source revenue, total revenue, and total spending, these per capita measures are not a reliable way to gauge the relative size of government among states. As noted in the preceding article, states with high per capita incomes almost always have higher per capita…

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