Fiscal Focus

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


June 07, 2016

May / June 2016

Session Breaks Bad, Better Call Saul

 Our recap of a messy, confusing, and frustrating 2016 legislative session requires words of wisdom from a great negotiator and problem solver.

Underfunded Pensions and Underfunded Infrastructure:  A Match Made in Heaven?

Direct public pension fund investment in public infrastructure is gaining traction but requires a fundamental rethinking of how we conceptualize and manage public assets.

From the Director: Two Transparency Initiatives We Really Need

Greater process transparency may be welcome but the key to good government is greater transparency with respect to policy substance.   Two efforts in this regard are long overdue.

March 15, 2016

March / April 2016

2016 Session "Everything Just Got a Little Harder"

A shrinking surplus, tax and transportation gridlock, and a new – if slightly disingenuous – reason for increasing public pension contributions provides some of the context for the highly-compressed 2016 legislative session.

Funding a Bridge Over Troubled Waters

The alleged growing impotence of the gas tax is exaggerated, and alternative user fees may help at some point in the future.  But the real
key to transportation funding adequacy and sustainability likely demands a return to an old fashioned public finance ideal.

A Perspective on the "Local Price of All Government" in Minnesota

A look at government’s “all in” fiscal footprint – local, state, and federal – at the county level.

From the Director: The State Tax Research Institute Arrives with a Splash

February 02, 2016

January / February 2016

Is the Minnesota Miracle Dead?

Contrary to popular belief, the transformation of the state/local relationship and policy outcomes originating out of the Minnesota Miracle remain intact today.  But to satisfy the continuing calls and insatiable expectations for lower property taxes, a new and different miracle is necessary.

Federal Conformity: The "Other" Business Tax Relief

Two new studies suggest full conformity with federal treatment of new capital investments merits consideration in the forthcoming 2016 business tax relief debates.

From the Director: Minnesota's "Bizarro World" of Property Taxation

Minnesota property tax policy debates are upside down with respect to property tax principles.  Tax research provides the reason.

MCFE News and Notes