Fiscal Focus

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

April 14, 2014

March/April 2014

That Rainy Day Feeling     

Is this the year we establish stronger budget reserve targets and deposit policies in statute? Minnesota’s current tax policy suggests this is a necessity, not an option.

"Will the Real Greater Minnesota Please Stand Up"

Wage trends suggest the economic story of rural Minnesota is a lot more upbeat than the stark headlines and warnings suggest

Thoughts at the Far Turn

As the end of the session draws closer, some perspective on the state’s property tax obsession, unsession activities, pension policy -- and the hands-down, all-time greatest research study on how people respond to estate taxation.

February 18, 2014

January/February 2014

Tea Leaves and House Bills - Our Look at the 2014 Legislative Session
We sift through pre-filed bills to predict the tax and fiscal ideas and themes which will define the 2014 legislative session

2013 Voss Report Release: Silence Speaks Volumes
The state’s report on homestead property tax affordability came out in January. The lack of coverage and attention given to the report tells you everything you need to know about what it says.

Breaking Down the Meltdown
The latest state and local pension valuation reports now show a collective deficit of $17 billion. We break down how we got to this point by reviewing valuation report histories and assigning numbers to the various contributing factors.

Practitioners Corner:  Federal Non-Conformity -- The Bane of Taxpayers and Tax Professionals Alike
One small example of the implications created by the chronic failure to understand and appreciate the full effects of nonconformity.

To Infinity and Beyond
Absent substantive reform or redesign of some type, Minnesota’s pension systems will create an ever-upward spiraling cycle of required contribution increases and a fiscal headache for the next generation to deal with.

December 23, 2013

November/December 2013

The Stool Revisited
Minnesota's "unbalanced three legged revenue stool" was one of the more influential and successful policy marketing efforts in state tax history.  With the 2013 tax changes now in place and the 2014 session approaching, we examine the premise of a balanced revenue system, the actions taken in support of this goal, and conclude that our stool is now a rocking chair.

The Big Divorce
For decades a prominent and influential measure of government inflation mirrored consumer inflation.  Then something happened.  A closer look at the split and why it matters for Minnesota.

Pitfalls of Evidence Based Policy
One big concern: a recent research study finds politics ruining math and reasoning skills.