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  • Residents Petition to Reclaim Freedom of Trash

    The disconnect between citizens and bigger-than-ever government continues to drive discontent with politics as usual at every level. Folks who used to think they had not just a stake, but a say in the system, aren’t so sure anymore. It’s evident at the local level of government supposed to be the closest and most accountable to taxpayers, as you can read in my latest News Alert. You see it in the backlash to technocrats’ overreach in the European Union, where U.K. residents at the point of no return will go to the polls later this month in a last ditch...

  • Northeast states start addressing the consequences of high taxes, making Minnesota more of an outlier

    Today the St. Cloud Times published an op-ed I wrote on how Minnesota’s high taxes are becoming even more of an outlier as a number of states, including traditionally high tax blue states in the Northeast, move to reduce key taxes. Connecticut is now exposing the limits of raising taxes.  They’ve raised taxes three times since 2009 — most recently by $2 billion in 2015 — and the state is still facing a budget deficit this year.  Democrats in Connecticut are finally coming to terms with the fact that the state’s high taxes have undermined their economy. For space reasons, some key quotes...

  • 2016 Session Update: Met Council’s Southwest LRT and Failed Model for Regionalism Jams up Transportation for Minnesota

    The Minnesota legislative session officially ended with the usual last minute drama.  In the final hour, the House passed a $1 billion bonding bill and sent it to the Senate for final passage.  Instead of passing the House version, the Senate added a controversial amendment as the House was adjourning sine die.  The amendment killed any chance for getting a bonding bill during the regular session. The Senate amendment would have allowed a local option to fund the remaining balance of the Southwest light rail project.  The project requires 10 percent of the funding to come from the state. The...

  • Crockett’s Quick Pension Update 2016: Minnesota’s Slow and Quiet Bailout

    In brief, the pension omnibus bill contains some good policy changes such as higher contribution rates and lower COLAs that are estimated to immediately save $81 million that otherwise would be lost forever—and much more in the future. The Teachers Retirement Association, the most troubled fund of Minnesota’s Big Three (TRA, PERA and MSRS), is going to finally join all the other funds in reducing its assumed rate of return/discount rate from a willfully optimistic 8.5% to a stubbornly optimistic 8.0%. TRA will also drop retirees COLA from 2% to 1% and raise just the employer/taxpayer contribution. Without additional funding...

  • Choosing Your Partners Carefully

    Heck with expensive bourbon and more expensive cigars. There’s nothing like an intriguing endnote about a social service program in Ohio called “Choose Your Partner Carefully” to cap off a sober evening reading a copious federal report about a depressing subject. More about the intricacies of marrying (or maybe just moving in together) in Marion County in a moment, but first a few words about the 167-page report itself. The 2016 document is the product of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, a group composed of a dozen men and women appointed two years ago by President Obama...