Economy

North Star testimony at PUC Hearing on proposed Bitter Root wind farm

Note: below are my comments delivered at a recent public hearing hosted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Canby, MN on the proposed Bitter Root wind farm project, with further content added for submittal to the PUC on July 18. —————————– Your Honor, interested parties, and community members: thank you for the opportunity…

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Minnesota Passes Wisconsin in Total Jobs

Total 2017 employment in Minnesota eclipsed that of Wisconsin for the first time in history,* despite having over 200,000 fewer people. Just ten years ago, Minnesota had 93,000 fewer jobs than Wisconsin. The Gopher State now has 6,200 more jobs, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).† In light of recent trends…

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Poor People Have the Highest Effective Tax Rates

An argument used to undermine programs that provide tax relief for low-income people—such as Minnesota’s Working Family Credit (WFC) and Child & Dependent Care Credit—is that they provide tax relief to households that are not paying taxes in the first place. However, poor people do pay taxes. In fact, as a percent of income, they…

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Guest Commentary: How the Labor Movement Can Thrive After Janus

In an historic blow to working class people and their organizations, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 last week, overturning Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the landmark 1977 case giving public sector unions the right to collect agency, or “fair share,” fees from non-members. The…

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Minnesota Business Taxes Low Relative to Benefits Received

The public in general and businesses in particular understandably pay close attention to the taxes they pay. However, the other side of the coin—the benefit derived from the expenditure of tax dollars—is frequently overlooked. This makes about as much sense as focusing on the price of the new car you’re buying, but ignoring the quality…

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A Tale of Two Wind Farms

On Thursday, June 28 at 6:00 pm, Minnesotans will attend two simultaneous public hearings on proposed wind energy projects in the Southwest Minnesota communities of Canby and Hendricks. The scheduling of two wind farm hearings at the exact same date and time, just 20 miles apart, speaks to the tremendous wind energy growth that is…

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No Significant Net Migration from Minnesota

In recent years, Minnesota conservatives have fretted over the net loss of population to other states. As with nearly every problem the state confronts, the culprit—according to conservatives—is Minnesota’s progressive tax and fiscal policy. The problem with this theory is that it does not jibe with the facts—especially the most recent information from the Internal…

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Myths of the 2017 Federal Tax Act

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA)—the massive federal tax cut passed in December 2017—has failed to produce the benefits touted by its promoters. And if history is any indicator, there is no reason to believe things will change in the future. The following debunks several often-touted claims made by TCJA backers. Myth #1: The…

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Catching the Wind: New report examines the impact of local vs. non-local hiring practices on construction of Minnesota wind farms

A new report published by North Star Policy Institute finds that hundreds of new family-supporting jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity are at stake for Southern Minnesota communities based on imminent hiring decisions by wind energy companies and whether new projects are built by local or non-local workers. Minnesota’s wind energy economy…

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State Aid Decline Coincides with City Property Tax Increases

Some state elected officials regularly express angst about the growth in city property taxes, blaming local elected officials for this trend. However, this is a case of misplaced attribution. True, city property taxes have increased since 2000. However, the primary culprit behind property tax hikes are reductions in other city revenues—most notably, state aid. The…

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