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Is “Affordable Housing Crisis” Driving Somalis Out of Eden Prairie?

This morning the Star Tribune featured an article titled "Affordable housing crisis hits Eden Prairie families." While the title referred to families generally, the entire article was about Somalis who live, or formerly lived, in Eden Prairie: [A]s demand for apartments soars metrowide, Somali families say they’re being forced out of Eden Prairie in waves by a shortage of affordable housing and the rejection by landlords of Section 8 vouchers. Does an inability to live in a community at government expense via Section 8 vouchers really constitute being "forced out"? Residents’ increasing frustration culminated last week at a community forum, following similar events...

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Eliot Seide’s Foolish Take on High Minnesota Taxes

I give Eliot Seide, Minnesota’s leading public employee union boss, credit for his clever Star Tribune column (“OK, it’s a drag, but think what your taxes do”) that painted all the joys of paying high Minnesota taxes on the eve of tax day.  Those foolish Tea Party protesters should be grateful for the opportunity, otherwise imagine the horrors of living without clean water, indoor plumbing, highway lines and lights, the sense of community provided by public transit, teachers, bus drivers, lunchroom staff, librarians, state parks, walleye-stocked lakes, a safety net for the less fortunate, and Meals on Wheels. The logic of Seide’s...

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It’s tax day: Minnesota, a land of progressivity

Minnesotans pay the second highest amount among the state, $14,624 per capita, in federal taxes after Delaware. And it is not just because the women are strong and the men are good looking. It is because high-income Americans pay the majority of federal taxes, while others consume them. The national average per capita amount is $8,943. What do we get back in federal dollars? Not much. ...

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Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

We have more than once debunked the claim--often asserted by liberals--that Minnesota's recent economic performance under Governor Dayton has been better than Wisconsin's performance under Governor Walker. This is alleged to be evidence that Minnesota's liberal policies are working. The argument is silly for a number of reasons, including the fact that while Wisconsin may have a Republican governor, it is anything but a red state. And Minnesota's economy has been stronger than Wisconsin's for many years, as Peter Nelson has pointed out on this site. This new video by Jeff Johnson makes some of these points in an entertaining way....

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A Competition For “Tax Fairness”? That’s Delusional

In yesterday's Star Tribune, the paper's editorial board hailed a recent study that found Minnesota's state and local taxes are distributed nearly equally across all income categories. Minnesotans, the study found, generally pay around 12% of their incomes in such taxes. The Strib's editorial board thinks this is terrific, and credits the tax increase that Governor Dayton and the then-Democratic legislature pushed through in 2013. Of course, the Strib acknowledges that "tax fairness" comes at a price: Some Minnesotans are bound to argue that flattening the “tax incidence curve” has been undesirable. It undoubtedly came at a competitive cost among those...

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Tax Credits For Student Loan Payments? A Terrible Idea

The tax bills wending their way through Minnesota's House and Senate include mostly good (although not very bold) provisions, with a few clinkers mixed in, like the subsidy for shrimp producers. SF 941 is an especially poor idea: Student Loan Tax Credits | SF 941 Student debt is a major concern for students, graduates, and their families. This bill would allow tax filers to claim a credit for payments on their student loan debt, which could result in net savings of $37.3 million in 2018 and $38.1 million in 2019 for hard-working Minnesota taxpayers. "A net savings...

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The Twin Cities Are Falling Behind, and It Isn’t Just Population

Today the Star Tribune headlines: "Twin Cities population growth lags other major U.S. cities." Based on just-released Census Bureau data, the article says: The Twin Cities metro is growing slower than other major U.S. cities, particularly areas like Denver and Seattle, new U.S. Census population estimates show. The metro area has grown about 6 percent since 2010 — adding 200,000 new people — placing it 17th for growth among the country’s 25 largest cities. This is a function of the fact that more people leave Minnesota for other states than move here from other states. If it weren't for large-scale international immigration, principally...

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MN Loses Population to Other States in 2016 But Some Counties Buck Trend

Migration, especially domestic migration, is a key indicator of the desirability and success of an area.  People vote with their feet and move to places with good jobs, affordable housing, and strong communities. County-level statistics on population change released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week reveal which areas of Minnesota are winning and losing this vote. Minnesota has been losing population due to people moving away to other states since 2002 and that trend continued in 2016.  Among Minnesota’s counties, 51 lost population from net domestic migration, 35 gained population, and Aitkin County netted out at zero. The five counties experiencing...

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Welfare Fraud Can Be Profitable Lucrative! [Updated]

Catrin Thorman wrote yesterday about a study by Minnesota's legislative auditor that found one-third of recipients of Temporary Assistance For Needy Families funds were not eligible for the benefits they received. Another news story in today's Star Tribune indicates that welfare fraud can involve surprising amounts of money. The story is headlined, "Charge: Fridley mother of 8 rang up $118K in welfare fraud in 1½ years." Long suspicious that a Fridley mother of eight was cheating the state out of various welfare benefits, authorities have charged her Tuesday receiving more than $118,000 in government aid over roughly a 1½-year period. *** [Fozia S.]...

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