Fiscal Focus

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


June 30, 2020

May / June 2020

About that Budget Deficit

In a chaotic period dominated by COVID response and civil unrest, action on the budget deficit drifted down lawmakers’ to-do list.   A look at the status, environment, and options for budget repair in the next special session.

The Time is Now for Nowcasting

A new economic tracking tool using real time data from the private sector offers insights into what is happening now in the economy, what impact policies are and are not having, and how Minnesota’s economic experience to date differs from the nation as a whole.   

Minnesota Results for the 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study for Taxes Payable in 2019

Minnesota creeps up in national rankings; regional comparisons highlight tradeoff between residential and commercial property in Minnesota’s property tax system.

June 30, 2020

March / April 2020

March / April articles are available on line only

State Employee Contracts and Budget Uncertainty

At the same time COVID is bringing the state economy to its knees, state employee contracts are up for ratification requiring an uncomfortable vote.   The numbers are getting all the attention, but from a policy standpoint it’s the distribution of those increases that deserves more consideration.

Pension Fallout of COVID

The state has plenty of immediate fiscal problems to deal with in responding to COVID. But like the virus itself, a “second wave” of impact looms in the state’s future.

February 25, 2020

January / February 2020

2020 Session at a Glance

A look at a couple of the major tax and fiscal policy issues that will be occupying lawmakers attention this year.

Fire up the Seniors:  The Push to Exempt Social Security

Deeply problematic in principle but politically opportunistic, the justifications for exempting all Social Security income from state taxation fail policy, economic and demographic realities.

Time to Reassess the State Property Tax

There is nothing quite like the State General Tax anywhere else in the country.  There's a reason for that.