Archive for September 2016

How to Succeed in Tax Rankings Without Really Trying

The conservative Tax Foundation just released the 2017 version of its State Business Tax Climate Index (SBTCI) and once again, Minnesota is purportedly in terrible shape. Minnesota policymakers need only follow a simple strategy to improve its ranking on the SBTCI: increase the regressivity of Minnesota’s state and local tax system by shifting a larger…

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Racial Income Gap Persists Despite 2015 Income Growth

Median household income in Minnesota grew significantly from 2014 to 2015, based on Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data summarized in part two of this series. Growth among minority groups was particularly strong, although this fact by itself does not tell the whole story. Even after adjusting for inflation, the median household income of…

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Minnesota Follows National Trend in 2015 Income Growth

Data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) released last week shows strong growth in mean and median household income in the U.S. from 2014 to 2015. Data from the Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) confirms this trend, although the rate of growth is somewhat lower than that indicated by CPS data. In addition,…

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City & District Info on Potential Special Session LGA

Last week, North Star discussed potential outcomes in regard to city Local Government Aid (LGA) if there is and if there is not a 2016 special session. If there is no special session, city LGA in 2017 will be distributed under current law. For most cities, this will translate into a tiny aid increase in…

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Robust Income Growth in 2015

The U.S. Census Bureau released 2015 household income information this week and the news—for the most part—was positive. Real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) income increased by the largest annual rate since the Great Recession, both nationally and in Minnesota. Furthermore, the increase was widespread, affecting nearly all demographic groups. On the other hand, median household income remains…

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Mid-Week Reads: Merkel and Minnesotans' Income

Every week, North Star will take some time out of our schedules to bring you our favorite reads from the past week. Jeff Van Wychen Merkel’s Mettle The current world leader that I admire above all others is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel has risked her political career by welcoming one million Syrian refugees to…

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Local Government Aid During a Potential Special Session

An August North Star article described the main effect of no 2016 special session: a larger state budget reserve. The same article noted some of the likely effects if there is a special session, including “an increase in state assistance to local governments.” With renewed discussions among the Governor and legislative leaders regarding a special…

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Income Inequality on Steroids: The Top of the Top 1%

Minnesota is no exception to the national trend of rising income inequality. Previous installments in this series have shown the concentration of income at the top of Minnesota’s income spectrum and the growing gap between the top one percent and middle-income households, especially after adjusting for inflation. However, to fully understand the extent to which…

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Rich Get Richer, Middle Class Not So Lucky

The growing income gap between the top one percent and the less well-off has been documented many times, most recently in two North Star articles. The first of these articles used data from Minnesota Tax Incidence Studies (MTIS) spanning the last quarter century to demonstrate the increased concentration at the top of Minnesota’s income spectrum,…

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