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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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Clear Cut Trees Reveal Solar Power’s Environmental Downside

It’s a given that solar power is unreliable as a source of base load power to meet our daily energy requirements. After all, the sun—at best—shines some of the time. Great River Energy’s experimental solar array in the Twin Cities, for example, operated at 13.6 percent of capacity in 2014. The utility recorded overcast skies a full 70 percent of days, observing clear and sunny conditions just 10 percent of the year. Nor does solar power cut it economically without state and federal subsidies, rebates and tax credits. Yet another adverse aspect of this supposedly “clean” energy source continues to be under-appreciated:...

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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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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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MNsure errors in determining eligibility cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars

Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor found that over a five-month period the state overpaid between $115 and $271 million in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare benefits due to MNsure’s failure to ensure people met the programs’ eligibility requirements. The audit sampled 157 people and found that 38 percent of them were not eligible for the program MNsure enrolled them in.  Of those sampled, 28 percent weren’t eligible for any program at all. The price for this error rate is not limited to the five months the audit covered.  Assuming the eligibility errors remain unresolved, the overpayment becomes a loss ranging from $276 to $650 million...

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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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2014 Health Care Savings Date Back to when Republicans Controlled the Minnesota Legislature

The Star Tribune reports Minnesota spent $1.2 billion less than projected on public health care programs in 2014.  Lower spending is, of course, great news for Minnesota’s budget.  Lower spending on Medicaid and MinnesotaCare is even better news for the future sustainability of state spending because health care traditionally grows faster than any other area of spending. In addition to reporting on savings, the article offered a good overview of the current and future issues facing the state’s public health care programs. So how did the state achieve $1.2 billion in lower spending? The Star Tribune focused on two recent developments in Medicaid...

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Minnesota Economy No Victory for Dayton

There’s a border battle going on between Minnesota and Wisconsin, a battle between the policies advanced by Gov. Mark Dayton and Gov. Scott Walker. The two states have long shared similarly sized populations and economies, as well as similar geographies and politics.  But since being elected in 2010, each governor pushed and passed dramatically different policies.  Dayton raised taxes by over $2 billion, increased spending by over 10 percent per person and hiked the minimum wage.  At the same time Walker cut taxes and ended collective bargaining requirements for public employees.  As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelput it, “Wisconsin is getting its most...

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