Our Work


  • August 9, 2017

A Closer Look at Badger Boasts

Lofty claims about the performance of the Wisconsin economy occasionally drift across the Saint Croix River, attempting to highlight the success of conservative fiscal and anti-union policies in the Badger State. These claims, however, are woefully incomplete, and at times border on the fraudulent. Since the Great Recession, Wisconsin’s economic performance has been mediocre at […]

  • 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 […]

  • June 21, 2017

Minnesota Needs a Multi-Modal Transportation System

The Center for the American Experiment (CAE) recently published a paper by Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Tool in which he blames planners at the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for Twin Cities highway congestion. The opinion paper drew comparisons to two other cities, Indianapolis and Kansas City, suggesting that Twin […]

  • 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 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 18, 2017

Local Control Benefits Minnesotans Statewide

Executive Summary Conservatives and large corporations are attempting to pass preemption legislation – an innocuous name for laws to restrict local communities from choosing greater benefits or wage laws than state minimum standards, like earned sick and safe time, and paid parental leave. These proposals look out for businesses’ bottom lines at the expense of […]

  • May 8, 2017

Minnesota’s Falling Price of Government

Dubbed as “an index of what taxpayers can afford” by the business community, Minnesota’s “price of government” is projected to reach an all-time low before the end of the state’s current budget planning horizon, according to non-partisan staff at Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB). This projection is based on current law; if some of the […]

  • May 1, 2017

City LGA Differences Among Various Plans

Governor Dayton’s city Local Government Aid (LGA) proposal increases the LGA appropriation in the upcoming two year budget, while the House freezes the appropriation and the Senate cuts it, as noted in the preceding North Star article. Knowledge of the appropriation alone, however, does not tell us how much aid individual cities will receive. In […]

  • April 24, 2017

City Aid Declines Under Most LGA Proposals

For the last four and a half decades, the city Local Government Aid (LGA) program has helped cities fund essential services and control property tax levels, but in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars per capita, city LGA is currently less than half of what it was in its peak year of 1990 and about 20 percent […]