Fiscal Focus

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


February 14, 2017

January / February 2017

Budgeting in a Sea of Federal Uncertainty

Federal tax and spending reform proposals present a challenging and volatile environment for state budget development. 

“Levyphobia” and the Minnesota Homeowner

The latest edition of the routinely overlooked but indispensable Department of Revenue “Voss Report” shows that the average homeowners’ property tax effort over the last decade is feebler than whatever the state is (or is not) doing.

How Would a Pay Raise Affect Lawmaker Performance and Legislature Diversity?

If academic research findings apply here, any decision to give our lawmakers a raise is best based on recognition of their hard work in the service of Minnesota citizens rather than on an expectation that our legislature would look or perform differently.

Government Budgets, Scarcity and Our Lizard Brains

A neuroscientist explains fiscal irresponsibility

December 13, 2016

November / December 2016

2017 Session Preview

A look at the economic and political landscape shaping the forthcoming budget session

Practitioners Corner:  Taxpayers Dancing in the Dark

Guest contributors Chris Martin and Emily Miller of Grant Thornton argue that Minnesota should join the majority of other states in implementing a private letter ruling program to improve transparency and guidance in the application of Minnesota tax law.

Greatest (Research) Hits of 2016

Some new insights from the National Bureau of Economic Research on the relationship between taxes and business investment, work incentives, and inequality.

October 25, 2016

September / October 2016

Evaluating the State of State Tax Administration

Our 2016 tax panel examined the current condition of state tax administration, discussed process and procedural concerns of today’s practitioners, and offered ideas to advance a strong ethic and system of voluntary compliance in Minnesota.

Health Care Finance, Cost Control, and the State Budget: Are We Making Progress?

Our 2016 fiscal policy panel delved into the complicated world of public health care spending and what it takes to achieve fiscal sustainability in this large and high profile part of the state government budget.

An Insurance Market in Crisis

Annual meeting luncheon speaker, Michael Guyette, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota exposed the harsh economic realities of the current individual insurance market and presented a call to action to restore the health of this integral part of the health care system.

Lessons From Fully Funded Defined Benefit Pension Plans

What are the keys to having healthy traditional defined benefit plans in this day and age?  As another round of public pension fixes looms in 2017, the answer to that question can come from an unexpected place:  the retirement plans Minnesota public sector unions offer their own employees.

From the Director

New MCFE Director Emeritus recipient Jerry Geis knows.  So should you.