Fiscal Focus

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

May 16, 2023

March / April 2023

Teachers and their Pensions: Burned Out and Turning Out

A major, and largely behind the scenes, legislative campaign this session sought to provide an early retirement option for Minnesota teachers. A look at the history of this issue, relevant findings and lessons from benchmarking TRA against other state teacher plans and Education Minnesota’s own employee plan, and the prospects for the effort as the end of session approaches.

State Contract Negotiations: Nothing Transformational Here

The biennial budget is taking shape, but a major element -- state labor contract agreements -- won’t be determined until after the constitutional deadline.  Initial proposal offers show satisfying economic interests and keeping labor peace will consume the negotiations while discussions of ideas to improve efficiency, performance, and accountability in government human capital management get left behind.

March 01, 2023

January / February 2023

Three Questions Surrounding a New Biennial Budget

As the session kicks into high gear and the DFL’s budget vision takes shape, we look at questions regarding inflation’s impact on budget development, meeting new staffing needs, and how sustainable the tax agenda is paired with big spending increases.

How Does Minnesota’s “Brain Waste” Compare?

A look at the extent of Minnesota “underemployment” in a time of full employment.

January 05, 2023

November / December 2022

2023 Session: Land of Opportunity

With $17.6 billion available and single party control over the legislative and executive branches, 2023 is shaping up to be a memorable legislative session combining big agendas and some balancing acts.    

What Does “Full Funding” of Education Mean?

"Full funding” of K-12 education has been deemed a top priority in the 2023 session, but what that idea actually means and entails is an open debate.  Trends in state education support may inform it. But as two investigations from twenty years ago revealed, understanding both the costs to deliver educational outcomes and the opportunities to pursue system efficiencies are needed to achieve it.