Posts by Jeff Van Wychen

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The education achievement gap in Minnesota is a real and persistent problem. For example, the 2016 graduation rate among black students was 22 percent below that of white students, while the rate among American Indian students was 35.5 percent below. While the gap in graduation rates has narrowed in recent years, it is still large…

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Income Inequality, Tax Regressivity are Worse Than We Thought

There has long been convincing evidence—both at the state and national levels—that income inequality has accelerated in recent decades, with an increasing share of wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Extreme income inequality—coupled with stagnant or declining real wages—undermines a consumer economy, since working families are less able to purchase the goods and services…

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Minnesota Population Growth Through 2050

No one knows what the future will bring, but the experts at the Minnesota State Demographic Center have made some informed predictions as to where Minnesota population growth—and decline—will be occurring over the next several decades. To some extent, projected patterns of Minnesota population change resemble historical patterns observed since 1950 (which were summarized in…

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School Aid: Halfway Back to 2003

Over the last fifteen years, trends in state aid to Minnesota school districts can be framed as a tale of two time periods: from fiscal year (FY) 2003 to 2012, real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil state aid to Minnesota school districts fell sharply; since FY 2012—and especially since FY 2014—real per pupil state aid is…

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Township Population Loss, Core City Resurgence

The pace of Minnesota’s population growth has changed over time and the geographical distribution of the state’s population has shifted, based on an analysis of county-level data presented in the first part of this series. An examination of county data, however, can overlook important population trends that are occurring within counties. The following analysis will…

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Uneven Population Growth Since Mid-Century

Minnesota’s population has increased by 2.5 million people (85 percent) since the middle of last century, but the rate of that growth has been unevenly spread geographically and over time. The following analysis provides a description of Minnesota’s population change since 1950, focusing on the amount of the change and where it has occurred. The…

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Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers

Undocumented immigrants in the United States have long been a hot political topic. The vast majority of these immigrants are not “criminals, drug dealers, and rapists,” but instead are “integral to the nation’s economic growth” and have little to no negative impact on native-born workers in the long term, according to a recent report from…

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Minnesota Business Property Taxes Per Capita, Employee

Minnesota business property taxes really aren’t that high, based on analysis of information from the annual business tax report prepared by Ernst & Young (EY). As described in the preceding article in this series, Minnesota’s business effective property tax rate is below national and regional averages and less than in most other states. An analysis…

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Minnesota Business 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…

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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…

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