Archive for May 2017

Minnesota Counties: The State’s Underfunded Partner

The State of Minnesota and the 87 Minnesota counties partner to perform many public functions. Counties operate as the administrative arm of the state in providing many state-mandated services, while the state provides aid to counties to help pay for these services; however, state dollars to counties to pay for these mandates have not keep…

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Federal Estate Tax Conformity: A Big Win for Über-Rich

By ensuring that extremely high-income households pay state and local taxes at a rate approaching that of other Minnesota households, the estate tax does more, dollar for dollar, than any other tax to reduce tax regressivity in Minnesota. Conservatives want to dramatically reduce Minnesota’s estate tax by conforming to federal law, which would have the…

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Estate Tax Break Increases Regressivity

Conservatives in Minnesota continue to push for a dramatic reduction in Minnesota’s estate tax, which would almost exclusively benefit the state’s wealthiest residents (who already enjoy below average effective tax rates). Implementing the estate tax reductions proposed by conservatives would further increase the regressivity of Minnesota’s state and local tax system. The estate tax is…

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The Merits of Expanding Edina’s New Tobacco Law

Under 21 No Tobacco

The Edina City Council recently passed an ordinance that raises the minimum age of tobacco sales up to 21 years old, making it the first city in Minnesota to do so. This proposal has already gained traction with other Minnesota cities, and could eventually be considered statewide. Raising the tobacco sales age to 21 years…

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Property Tax Break Favors Large, Metro Businesses

The state revenue loss resulting from changes to the state business property tax in the tax conference committee report are likely to increase rapidly over time—for reasons described in a recent North Star article—and ultimately surpass the revenue loss associated with other tax cuts in the report. As the magnitude of that tax break swells…

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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…

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Beware the Trojan Tax Cut

As Homer tells it, a besieged Troy eagerly welcomed the present of a large wooden horse as a herald of good times to come. This “gift,” however, actually led to the ruin of the proud city. Minnesotans should take this cautionary tale to heart before they embrace the large tax cut schemes being promoted by…

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Measles Outbreak Demonstrates Why Vaccines Matter

Measles Cases in MN

Minnesota is receiving national attention for its measles outbreak. As of May 11th, 49 children in Minnesota have already contracted measles in 2017. This is an astonishingly high number: from 2001 to 2016, there were only 46 cases of measles, and that included an outbreak of 26 children in 2011. Using data from the Minnesota…

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Conservative Spending Claims Don’t Add Up

A recent chart from the Republican Party of Minnesota, reproduced below, purports to show that Minnesota’s general fund budget is growing about 12 percent faster than the state’s economy and about 25 percent faster than the rate of inflation from 2012 to 2017. The information in that graph is, however, generally inaccurate. The Republican Party…

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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…

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