Our Work


  • June 21, 2017

Yes, the Minnesota Price of Government Has Declined

A recent article in the Star Tribune has sparked a minor dustup regarding Minnesota’s “Price of Government” (PoG). The article, which focused on the budget legacy of Governor Mark Dayton and featured fiscal comparisons between the Pawlenty and Dayton administrations, significantly overstated the decline in the PoG. This led a conservative think tank to counter […]

  • June 19, 2017

Minnesota Business Tax Rates Below U.S. Average

Minnesota’s business lobby frequently complains that business tax rates in the Gopher State are high. Such claims are often based on nominal tax rates—in other words, the rates that are written into state law; however, nominal rates do not take into account various statutory exclusions that reduce the base against which the rate is applied […]

  • June 15, 2017

Minnesota Business Taxes Per Worker Below U.S. Average

Conservatives regularly claim that business taxes in Minnesota are high relative to the rest of the nation, but an examination of fiscal year (FY) 2015 total state and local business taxes per private sector employee in each of the fifty states reveals that Minnesota is actually below the national average. Each year, the Quantitative Economics […]

  • June 12, 2017

Minnesota’s Economy Doing Relatively Well

Conservative interest groups contend that Minnesota’s economy is floundering, the victim of “blue state” (i.e., progressive) fiscal policies. Critiques published by North Star and others show such claims are generally bogus and based more on politics than coherent economic analysis. Evidence of Minnesota’s strong economic performance relative to other states can be found in the […]

  • June 9, 2017

What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away

Minnesota counties received some good news and some bad news during the first 2017 special legislative session. The tax bill that was ultimately signed into law included a significant increase in County Program Aid (CPA), as well changes to the CPA formula sought by Minnesota counties. On the other hand, the Health & Human Services […]

  • June 6, 2017

Minnesota Outperforms Neighbors in Job Growth

Since the turn of the century, employment growth in Minnesota has kept pace with the rest of the nation and comfortably surpassed the Midwest average. Minnesota’s strong performance relative to the rest of the region has persisted through two recessions, a major financial meltdown, a major tax reduction, and a major tax increase. The following […]

  • May 31, 2017

Minnesota Counties: The State’s Underfunded Partner

The State of Minnesota and the 87 Minnesota counties partner to perform many public functions. Counties operate as the administrative arm of the state in providing many state-mandated services, while the state provides aid to counties to help pay for these services; however, state dollars to counties to pay for these mandates have not keep […]

  • May 24, 2017

Federal Estate Tax Conformity: A Big Win for Über-Rich

By ensuring that extremely high-income households pay state and local taxes at a rate approaching that of other Minnesota households, the estate tax does more, dollar for dollar, than any other tax to reduce tax regressivity in Minnesota. Conservatives want to dramatically reduce Minnesota’s estate tax by conforming to federal law, which would have the […]

  • May 23, 2017

Estate Tax Break Increases Regressivity

Conservatives in Minnesota continue to push for a dramatic reduction in Minnesota’s estate tax, which would almost exclusively benefit the state’s wealthiest residents (who already enjoy below average effective tax rates). Implementing the estate tax reductions proposed by conservatives would further increase the regressivity of Minnesota’s state and local tax system. The estate tax is […]

  • May 18, 2017

Property Tax Break Favors Large, Metro Businesses

The state revenue loss resulting from changes to the state business property tax in the tax conference committee report are likely to increase rapidly over time—for reasons described in a recent North Star article—and ultimately surpass the revenue loss associated with other tax cuts in the report. As the magnitude of that tax break swells […]