Fiscal Focus

Fiscal Focus is our bimonthly publication providing news, analysis, and commentary on tax and spending topics in the headlines.


March 15, 2016

March / April 2016

2016 Session "Everything Just Got a Little Harder"

A shrinking surplus, tax and transportation gridlock, and a new – if slightly disingenuous – reason for increasing public pension contributions provides some of the context for the highly-compressed 2016 legislative session.

Funding a Bridge Over Troubled Waters

The alleged growing impotence of the gas tax is exaggerated, and alternative user fees may help at some point in the future.  But the real
key to transportation funding adequacy and sustainability likely demands a return to an old fashioned public finance ideal.

A Perspective on the "Local Price of All Government" in Minnesota

A look at government’s “all in” fiscal footprint – local, state, and federal – at the county level.

From the Director: The State Tax Research Institute Arrives with a Splash

February 02, 2016

January / February 2016

Is the Minnesota Miracle Dead?

Contrary to popular belief, the transformation of the state/local relationship and policy outcomes originating out of the Minnesota Miracle remain intact today.  But to satisfy the continuing calls and insatiable expectations for lower property taxes, a new and different miracle is necessary.

Federal Conformity: The "Other" Business Tax Relief

Two new studies suggest full conformity with federal treatment of new capital investments merits consideration in the forthcoming 2016 business tax relief debates.

From the Director: Minnesota's "Bizarro World" of Property Taxation

Minnesota property tax policy debates are upside down with respect to property tax principles.  Tax research provides the reason.

MCFE News and Notes

December 08, 2015

November/December 2015

A Call For Expansion and Enforcement Of Minnesota's Current "Taxpayer Bill of Rights"

Guest contributor Jerry Geis examines the state's 25-year history with ensuring adequate procedural protections for taxpayers, examines why changing times have created new needs, and offers a series of proposals to begin the discussion.

Reasonable, Supportable, and Irresponsible

Recent Pension Commission hearings on plan assumptions demonstrate again that keeping contributions in check takes priority over fiscal responsibility.

From the Director: Tax Reformation Day

Twenty-seven theses have been nailed to the doors of Minnesota's legislative chambers.  Let's start the conversation.