Posts by Jeff Van Wychen

St. Paul Spending Isn’t “Out of Control”

The City of Saint Paul is confronting a potential 24 percent increase in its levy in 2018, based on a preliminary budget proposal. The increase is largely the result of a Minnesota Supreme Court decision handed down last summer, which stripped the City of its ability to issue “right of way” maintenance assessments. This eliminated…

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October Update: We’ve Got Some Good News & Some Bad News

The October Revenue and Economic Update from Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) contained some good news and some bad news. The good news is that fiscal year (FY) 2017 revenue collections surpassed July expectations. The bad news is that FY 2018 revenues continue to come in below levels anticipated in the February 2017 forecast and,…

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Real Per Pupil State Aid Has Declined Since FY 2003

The conservative Minnesota Business Partnership recently challenged our contention that real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil state aid has declined since fiscal year (FY) 2003. North Star’s assertion in regard to declining state aid is completely accurate—if you use an inflation index appropriate to measuring the impact of inflation on school district finances. Only by using…

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Counties with Greatest Income Inequality are Also the Poorest

In recent decades, income inequality has increased, both in Minnesota and nationally. New information from the American Community Survey (ACS) shows that U.S. and Minnesota counties with the highest degree of income inequality also have the highest poverty rates and the lowest median incomes, thereby underscoring the devastating impact of income inequality on low- and…

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Tax Cut Driven Budget Problems Escalate in Future

The fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 state general fund budget surplus—projected to be $1.65 billion last February—could easily turn into a $104 million deficit after taking into account the tax cuts and other measures enacted earlier this year, as noted in the first part of this series. Because the revenue loss from many of these tax…

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Big Tax Cuts Jeopardize Fiscal Solvency

Going into 2017, Minnesota was looking at a large budget surplus for the upcoming biennium. By the time the dust had settled at the end of the 2017 special session, the surplus had been reduced by nearly ninety percent. After including the impact of lower than expected revenue collections and other factors, the surplus projected…

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While Minnesota Reinvests, Wisconsin Disinvests

Tax cuts enacted in the Badger State in recent years have contributed to a more regressive tax system and recurring revenue shortfalls, as noted in the preceding article in this series. Meanwhile, tax increases in Minnesota have not only made the tax system less regressive, but also helped to produce a significant surplus after years…

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The Connection Between Public Policy and Prosperity

Since the end of the Great Recession, Minnesota has comfortably surpassed Wisconsin in terms of GDP and income growth, and job creation. Based on newly released 2016 data from the American Community Survey, median household income in the Gopher State is 15.5 percent ($8,800) greater than in America’s Dairyland. Caution is in order when drawing…

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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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