Fiscal Focus

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


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.

December 10, 2019

November / December 2019

State Government’s Human Capital Problem 

Until Minnesota government takes other workforce issues as seriously as its fixation with internal equity, trying to get and retain necessary talent in government is doomed to be an increasingly expensive exercise in frustration while recent high-profile agency embarrassments become more common.

Greatest Research Hits of 2019

Tax incentives, tax-induced behaviors, issues surrounding income inequality -- our annual review of this year's National Bureau of Economic Research working papers offers information and insights on issues and policies being debated at the state capitol.

DHS: Now Comes the Hard Part

New Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead's “90 Day Review and Plan” for the troubled agency was a thoughtful and encouraging plan of action from an experienced manager and leader.  Now come the implementation realities and challenges presented by the state’s human capital system in delivering on it.