Our Work


  • August 14, 2017

Minnesota Businesses Property Taxes Below Average

A common mantra among conservatives is that Minnesota business property taxes are high relative to other states—a view promulgated by Minnesota’s business lobby and interest groups. Analysis of data from impartial sources, however, suggests that the opposite might be true. The most commonly cited claim that Minnesota business property taxes are among the highest in […]

  • August 8, 2017

Minnesota’s Shrinking Cigarette Tax

The price of most items that consumers purchase increases over time due to inflation. This year, however, the impact of inflation was removed as it applies to the tax on one of the most deadly over-the-counter products that Minnesotans can buy: cigarettes. The repeal of the annual inflation adjustment to Minnesota’s cigarette tax effectively freezes […]

  • August 1, 2017

Tax Regressivity in Minnesota vs. Other States

Minnesota policymakers of all political persuasions have touted the importance of reducing tax regressivity—in other words, reducing the extent to which taxes as a percent of income are borne disproportionately by low- and middle-income households. Thus, it should come as good news that Minnesota has the seventh least regressive tax system in the nation, despite […]

  • July 26, 2017

Minnesota’s Income Tax: Not the Most Progressive

Like many states, Minnesota offsets the regressivity of sales and property taxes through a progressive income tax. Minnesota’s income tax became more progressive in 2013 with the addition of a fourth income tax bracket for high-income households. Even after enactment of the new fourth tier, however, Minnesota’s individual income tax is still far from the […]

  • 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 […]