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Do Rental Limits on Homeowners Harm the Poor, Middle Class and Minorities?

Property rights proponents are two-for-two so far this year in contesting proposed ordinances in Twin Cities suburbs that wanted to make it illegal for many homeowners to rent out their houses.  The rejection of a rental cap in Brooklyn Center this week represents a big win for the property rights that undergird our economic liberty, as I wrote here. Yet it's also a victory for renters and tenants in Brooklyn Center and beyond. They already face record high rent bills and a shortage of available rental housing that would have further priced them out of the market by limiting the overall...

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How Strong Is Minnesota’s Economy, Really?

On May 28, the Center's Peter Nelson had an op-ed in the St. Cloud Times. The op-ed dealt largely with Connecticut, a high-tax state state like Minnesota, which is rethinking its tax policies after an exodus of high-profile businesses, including General Electric. Peter then asked, "Is the same shrill wakeup call on Minnesota’s horizon?" He pointed out that Minnesota, like Connecticut, has recently enacted a large income tax increase. Also like Connecticut, Minnesota imposes a death tax--only Minnesota's is higher. And, like Connecticut's economy, Minnesota's economy has underperformed in recent years: Like Connecticut, employment in Minnesota grew slower than the nation the...

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Despite risky behavior, pension funds are coming up short

I have several good buddies who make sure I see I keep up with my pension math. So earlier this week, I got a number of friendly pings pointing to a Wall Street Journal article on how public pension funds are taking greater risks to achieve assumed rates of return this week (Pension Funds Pile on Risk, Wednesday June 1, 2016). The WSJ article was prompted the release of a new study by Callan Associates, Inc. an advisor to large investors like pension funds. The study noted “a more volatile mix of stocks, real estate and private equity needed to match prior...

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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 from the...

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Debate rages over whether Minnesota loses taxpayers to lower tax states

In March, Center of the American Experiment released the report, Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States 2016, in which I analyzed IRS migration data. These data track the state-to-state movement of taxpayers and their income. Because it tracks the movement of all taxpayers, it delivers an intensely accurate picture of national migration patterns. The lead finding from the report shows Minnesota, on net, lost nearly $1 billion between 2013 and 2014. This finding created quite a stir and focused public attention on whether Minnesotans are changing their residence to other states to avoid Minnesota’s high taxes. Three local TV stations...

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Don’t Miss CAE Forum on How Dodd-Frank Hurts Small Business with Top Expert Peter Wallison

The timing couldn’t be better for American Experiment’s forthcoming lunch with Peter Wallison on May 4.  Wallison’s target topic, the unintended consequences of the Dodd-Frank Act, has hit the headlines in the past week with a flourish. So has Wallison, one of the top experts on the fallout from Dodd-Frank, the most burdensome financial regulations imposed by Washington since the New Deal. But the tables are turning, due to the government’s setback in a federal court ruling in favor of insurance giant MetLife. Wallison wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week that the decision “bears watching well beyond Wall Street.” “Federal district...

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Is the Customer Always Right? Or Do Businesses Have the Right to Refuse Service?

Governor Mark Dayton issued two decrees this week to the state’s workforce: all non-essential travel is banned to North Carolina and Mississippi. The governor’s memo came in response to legislation that throws a life line to citizens whose religious liberties may come under fire. Dayton may have to issue more travel bans as more states try to protect certain business owners faced with a conundrum: gay or lesbian customers ask for goods or services for their wedding ceremony. Or a customer who is physically male but feels he is really a woman, wants to use the women’s bathroom or locker room. The...

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A response to various objections to American Experiment’s report, “Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States 2016”

Center of the American Experiment recently released a report documenting that, year after year, Minnesota on net loses thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to migration. Between 2013 and 2014, the net loss of income reached nearly $1 billion.  A closer look at where people move shows a consistent pattern of movement to lower tax states, providing strong evidence that taxes are part of the problem. If these data prove one thing, they prove Minnesota is not competing well with other states for new people who can add to our workforce, communities and tax base.  That fact should...

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Perception please meet the reality of Minnesota’s jobs climate

Despite actual employment data showing below average job creation for 2015 in Minnesota, Gallup just ranked Minnesota the top state in the country for job creation. The Dayton administration lost no time in advertising these nation leading results.  They even put their top graphics team to work to draw up a snappy design showcasing the results, which is pictured below.  I guess the cogs undulating with the wavy line are supposed to depict how the cogs of Minnesota’s economy are just rolling right along past every other state economy. Last week, however, the Dayton administration’s Department of Employment and Economic Development released...

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Minnesota job growth still falls behind U.S.

A recent Star Tribune headline reports “a strong finish for Minnesota employment in December.”  There is no question Minnesota experienced strong growth for the months of December and November.  Jobs grew by 9,100 in December and 9,200 in November, which is at the top end of the growth scale for any two-month period. Obviously these are welcome numbers, but one or two months do not reflect the overall strength of Minnesota’s jobs climate.  As the Star Tribune notes upfront, Minnesota’s annual employment growth rate for 2015 was below the U.S.—1.5 percent versus 1.9 percent.  Unfortunately, as shown below, this is the...

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