Our Work


  • July 24, 2017

Job Vacancy Wages Don’t Meet Basic Needs

The wages offered for most job vacancies in Minnesota are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of a typical family, according to the 2017 Minnesota Cost of Living Study prepared by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The preceding article in this series noted that the median wage for all occupations […]

  • July 17, 2017

44 Percent of Jobs Don’t Meet Basic Needs

The median job wage in Minnesota pays only modestly more than what is needed to meet basic needs for a small family, according the 2017 Minnesota Cost of Living Study prepared by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). There is significant variation among Minnesota regions in the extent to which wages satisfy […]

  • July 12, 2017

Aid, Tax, and Revenue Trends in Three Cities

In recent decades, steep reductions in state aid to Minnesota cities have resulted in significant increases in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per capita city property taxes and reductions in real per capita city revenues. Aggregate city data, however, can conceal what is happening within individual cities. This article will focus on city property tax, state aid, […]

  • July 10, 2017

State Aid Ups & (Mostly) Downs for Cities

Except for a few intermittent spikes, state aid to Minnesota cities has trended downward since 1990. In general, cities have dealt with declining state aid through a combination of property tax increases and budget reductions, although the city response to aid vicissitudes has varied over time. The following analysis will focus on the total “revenue […]

  • June 30, 2017

Minnesota Businesses Benefit from State & Local Taxes

It is common for businesses to complain about taxes without considering the benefits that they provide. Taxes are not collected and then buried in a hole. They are used to provide education and public safety, protect property rights, and construct and maintain public infrastructure, among other things—all services which benefit businesses. A complete comparison of […]

  • June 26, 2017

Business Share of Minnesota Taxes Below US Average

Many believe that Minnesota businesses bear a disproportionate share of the total state and local tax load compared to businesses in other states. This notion is perhaps the result of significant corporate and individual income taxes, the presence of both state and local business property taxes (most states impose only local business property taxes), and […]

  • 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 […]