Taxes

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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Tax, Revenue, Spending Rankings in Perspective

Americans love rankings. We rank everything from Division 1 college football teams to states with the worst winters. (Without much trouble, you can probably guess which one Minnesota leads the nation in!) Policy nerds (like me) and politicians often talk about tax rankings. Less frequently discussed—but as or perhaps more important—are rankings of states based…

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Minnesota: the Best Run State in the U.S.

Minnesota progressives can tout a new achievement: the state was recently ranked the best run state in the nation, according to a 24/7 Wall Street report published by USA Today. This report is not based on an ideologically skewed methodology designed to prefer blue states over red states or vice versa, but on a wide…

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State Deficit Worse Than It Appears

True to expectations, the condition of Minnesota’s finances has deteriorated from what was projected at the end of the 2017 special session. Based on the November forecast released earlier today, a modest deficit is now projected for the current fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 biennium and a significant deficit is projected for the upcoming FY 2020-21…

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