Archive for November 2016

Going Beyond Per Capita Rankings

State tax rankings are a perennial hot topic in debates over the size of government. Such rankings are most commonly based on taxes per capita; however, rankings based on per capita taxes—or even the broader category of per capita own-source revenue—are inadequate as basis for gauging the relative size of state and local government among…

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Before Hyperventilating About Tax Rankings…

Based on the most recent government finance data from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2013, combined state and local government taxes per capita in Minnesota are the tenth highest in the nation*—and this does not include tax increases enacted during the 2013 session. However, before going apoplectic about Minnesota’s “top ten” per capita tax status,…

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County Expenditures Follow Revenues, Downward

Total Minnesota county expenditures, adjusted for inflation and population growth, have followed county revenues downward over the last ten years. Using data from the 2014 Minnesota County Finances report, published by the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) earlier this year, the first installment in this series explored trends in county revenue from 2005 to…

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County Revenues Have Declined Since 2005

Total revenue of all Minnesota counties is down modestly over the last decade, after adjusting for inflation and growth in the state’s population. The largest portion of this decline is the result of a steep reduction in state aid to counties, which had the predictable outcome of spurring property tax increases. Data used in this…

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Income Inequality Continues to Escalate

Last summer, two separate North Star articles (published on July 18 and August 29) explored the growth in U.S. and Minnesota income inequality since the 1970s and 1980s. While recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed significant income growth in 2015, income inequality has continued to increase since the beginning of the Great Recession…

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Post-Great Recession, Rich Get Richer and Poor Get Poorer

We’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that average U.S. and Minnesota incomes increased from 2014 to 2015. Further good news for Minnesotans is that income growth among each of the Gopher State’s six income groups outperformed the corresponding national growth rates, as described in the preceding North Star…

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Income Growth by Income Group: Minnesota vs. U.S.

Minnesota fared better than the national average in terms of income growth since the Great Recession, based on Census Bureau data summarized in a September 21 North Star article. A deeper dive into another batch of recently released data from the American Community Survey (ACS) shows that within every income group, average incomes in Minnesota…

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Role of Government in Reducing Poverty

Poverty rates fell significantly from 2014 to 2015, based on new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, summarized in a recent North Star article. While poverty fell significantly in 2015, poverty rates in Minnesota and nationally remain above pre-Great Recession levels. Poverty rates would be much higher but for federal and state government programs that…

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