Fiscal Focus

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

February 22, 2022

January / February 2022

So Much for “Supplemental

In an off-budget year featuring a massive surplus and a generous, accommodating federal government, neither side is holding back.

The Renewed Push to Exempt Social Security

The state’s huge surplus has propelled full exemption of social security income to the top of many tax relief wish lists.  The numbers may look kindlier on the idea but it remains far better politics than tax policy.

Should Government Budgets Be Rich in Fiber?

With the avalanche of federal cash to boost and enhance broadband connectivity comes a temptation for Minnesota to deviate from a proven track record of what works

$73 Billion...So Far

Snapshot of federal COVID management and economic recovery funds provided to Minnesota and their uses

January 11, 2022

November / December 2021

The 2022 Session: Uncertainty in a Time of Abundance

Money doesn’t buy happiness, and with respect to the upcoming legislative session, it doesn’t provide clarity either.  Three questions we’re asking heading into 2022.

Why Does Minnesota Spend So Much More Than the National Average on Health and Human Services?

We take a look behind the numbers reported in our latest edition of “How Does Minnesota Compare?” 

State Pension Plans: Great Returns Don’t Assure Peace in the Valley

A 30.3% investment return in FY 2021 by the State Board of Investment should pave the way for a rather quiet year for Legislative Committee on Pensions and Retirement.  But nothing is ever quite that easy in pension land.

November 04, 2021

September / October 2021

Special Report on Tax Reliability: The State of Minnesota’s “Big Three”

An important and often underappreciated tax policy issue is reliability -- a tax system’s ability to support expenditure programs over the long run and provide dependable streams of revenue even as the characteristics and nature of the underlying economy evolves and varies with the business cycle.  Diversity in the tax system, like an investment portfolio, supports such an objective.  But it also requires a closer look at the structure of specific taxes because “how” these taxes are collected in a state can have significant impacts on their growth trends and variability in collections.  We take a closer look at our “big three” by providing some current relevant statistics pertaining to each tax, structural considerations impacting revenue collections, and some relevant policy issues going forward.