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More of the Same: “Nothing Spectacular” in State Jobs Report

The new state jobs report is out and not surprisingly, it's more of the same that Minnesotans have come to expect and accept. Last month Minnesota plodded along with an increase of some 1,900 jobs statewide. Yet even the status quo's biggest apologist--the Star Tribune--characterized the numbers as "a slight overall gain" that continues "slow, steady growth in the state job market." “Although it’s been nothing spectacular, I think it’s been notable that as long as it’s been going on, our growth rate has been very persistently solid, if not remarkable,” said Steve Hine, a labor market analyst for the state. "Nothing spectacular." "Not...

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Higher Property Taxes? Blame Hidden MNsure Costs

By now most Minnesotans realize the Affordable Care Act has drastically increased the cost of healthcare coverage for many, while at the same time decreasing coverage choices. Governor Mark Dayton has confirmed the worsening prognosis with his admission that "the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people." What’s not widely known is that taxpayers are also being gouged for millions of dollars a year on their property tax bills because of ongoing problems with MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange. This hidden cost is borne by counties to compensate for the inefficiencies and software failures...

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Cuban Cigars and Rum. What’s a Fan of the Constitution to do?

The Center’s Senior Fellow and Professor of Economics King Banaian gave me a heads up this morning on his weekly radio show: President Obama issued yet another executive order, this time allowing for the importation of the Cuban cigars, rum and pharmaceuticals, thereby once again by-passing our Congress and the long-held though not uncontroversial conclusion of our elected officials that the continued trade embargo is the better policy. I called in to the radio show this morning to pose the following ethical dilemma to King: Should conservatives buy Cuban cigars and rum? (I want to make damn sure I do...

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Minneapolis buys political cover to raise the minimum wage from the U of MN Humphrey School

It’s no secret the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs faculty tend to hold and promote liberal views.  That just goes with the territory in academia.  According to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, liberals outnumber conservatives by about 5 to 1 among college and university professors. It’s one thing for a university’s faculty to tilt liberal.  It’s quite another for one of the country’s leading public research universities to be paid to produce advocacy materials for liberal causes. Unfortunately, it recently became clear that the Humphrey School is now in the advocacy business. As American Experiment's Tom Steward reported...

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White House “Fact Sheet” on Minnesota income growth fails to report income declines in Mankato, St. Cloud, and Rochester

Yesterday the White House released a “Fact Sheet” touting growing incomes, falling poverty, and rising health coverage in Minnesota. The fact sheet clearly aims to bolster the perception that all is well with the economy as the nation edges closer to electing the next President.  To that end, the White House could not help but embellish a few things. The most noteworthy embellishment revolves around household income growth in Minnesota’s metro areas.  Here’s their spin: The Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth metro area saw the fastest gains within the State, with typical households’ incomes rising 2.6 percent. There are two major problems with this statement. ...

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Tax Foundation report finds business taxes in Minnesota are among the least competitive

The Tax Foundation released their 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index today and, as usual, Minnesota ranks very poorly.  The state ranks 46th overall.  Looking to specific categories, Minnesota ranks 43rd for corporate tax, 45th for individual income tax, 25th for sales tax rate, 28th for unemployment insurance tax, and 33rd for property tax. Minnesota’s bottom-of-the-barrel ranking shows the state’s tax system is one of the least competitive in the country.  Competitiveness is exactly what the index aims to measure.  As the report explains: The modern market is characterized by mobile capital and labor, with all types of businesses, small and large, tending to locate where...

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A Minimum Wage Fable by Mark Perry

[caption id="attachment_4700" align="alignleft" width="229"] Dr. Mark Perry spoke at American Experiment's BIG minimum wage debate that drew over 200 people.[/caption] [This is a great post from Dr. Perry's Carpe Diem blog.] [The full 60 min. audio from American Experiment's BIG minimum wage debate with Sen. John Marty, Dan McElroy, and Dr. Perry is available here.] Consider an imaginary economy with two types of workers: two-armed and one-armed. Two-armed workers are the large majority, while the one-armed workers are a small minority. For most manual tasks and some service-related jobs, suppose the one-armed workers are realistically less productive than their two-armed counterparts for: a)...

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Affordable Housing? Not For Twin Cities Families

The Metropolitan Council—the Twin Cities area’s regional government—has been telling us for years that we’ve got to change the way we live. “Thrive MSP 2040,” the council’s 30-year development plan, is intended to remake our region around transit; move us into high-density, “stack and pack” housing along fixed-rail lines; deplete road funding; and wean us out of our cars so we walk, bike or take public transit to work and leisure activities. But today’s Star Tribune provides powerful evidence that people here generally don’t want to live that way. The Met Council is pressuring the region’s municipalities to densify, but home builders...

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Once Again, Star Tribune Cheers Mediocre Performance

We Minnesotans have a habit of patting ourselves on the back for performance that is, at best, average. Our local press, especially the Minneapolis Star Tribune, encourages this form of self-deception. A case in point was an article in today's Strib business section headlined Twin Cities economy posts solid gain in 2015. The boosterish article, by Adam Belz, was based on a release of data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on economic growth by metropolitan area: The Twin Cities economy grew steadily in 2015, setting a pace that’s better than average and keeping Minneapolis-St. Paul in its spot as the...

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Mark Perry’s remarks at American Experiment’s minimum wage forum

Update: Minnesota Public Radio covered the event, listen to its report here: “How would $15 minimum wage affect workers?” Thanks to the Center for the American Experiment for the opportunity to participate today. As a native of the Twin Cities, I feel especially fortunate to be here. What’s not so fortunate is that we’re here debating a topic that has actually been settled science in economics for several hundred years. Generally, the first thing we teach on the first day of Econ 101 is that if you raise the price of a good or service, you’ll reduce the demand for that...

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