Fiscal Focus

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

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.

October 30, 2013

September/October 2013

To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize
Are business tax incentives and targeted subsidies good policy?  Distinguished government and business representatives examined the issues at our 87th Annual Meeting of Members.

MCFE 2013 "Accountability Index"
Our annual journey to the political fantasyland of pink unicorns, fairy princesses, and a uniform system of market value based property taxation.

Do High Quality Teachers Make A Difference?
Two new National Bureau of Economic Research working papers examine the hot button issue of measuring and assessing the impact of high quality teachers.

Our Non-Identical Twin
Minnesota and Texas, two states with seemingly nothing in common, are side by side in a recent ranking of the nation's top ten business climates.  Their different paths to success create different vulnerabilities.