Letters to the editor

We’ve got mail!


You are actually a “gift” from our daughter, Amy Hanson. She ordered this wonderful magazine for herself, but somehow her subscription ended up coming to us. We’ve enjoyed Thinking Minnesota for a few years now. Thank you; it gives us hope for Minnesota.

My daughter ended up moving to North Dakota for a new job. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer on her birthday in May 2022, and in Feb. 2023, she was healed, but not on this side of heaven. We miss our daughter with every heartbeat. Every time your magazine comes to us in Amy’s name, it feels like a gift from her.

Your latest Thinking Minnesota came and you wanted to know if Amy still wanted to continue with her subscription. Amy cannot respond to your question, but we’d love to continue in her honor.

—Mr. and Mrs. Hanson

Film review

I would highly recommend that the staff of Thinking Minnesota view the documentary, “The Fall of Minneapolis.” It is on YouTube. It would be good if it were mentioned in the magazine.

—Eugene O. Nelson

A matter of fact

I read [John Phelan’s] piece on the decline of population over the past year in the state of Minnesota. How sure are you about the conclusion you made as to the cause of the decline? Did you consider any other possible explanation for this trend? Your conclusion seems a bit simplistic don’t you think?

How many people move from one place to another based on the politics of the governor? Or the current political climate in the state for that matter?

It would appear that you have mistaken correlation for causation. In my opinion, the data does not support your conclusion. If you have additional information to support your conclusion, I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

It is unethical to use facts to manipulate the uneducated.

Jonathan Heinrichs

John Phelan responds:

Thank you for your correspondence.

First, you are incorrect; I said nothing about Minnesota’s population declining. I wrote that net domestic migration was negative, which is not the same thing. I made this point explicitly.

As to the cause, yes, I have considered other causes. I have, in fact, written that “taxes are not the only factor which drives people’s decisions over where to live and work … and a recent paper by economists Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Mathilde Muñoz, and Stefanie Stantcheva review[s] a growing empirical literature on the effects of personal taxation on the geographic mobility of people and discuss[es] its policy implications” finding,

There is growing evidence that taxes can affect the geographic location of people both within and across countries. This migration channel creates another efficiency cost of taxation with which policymakers need to contend when setting tax policy.

More specifically:

This body of work has shown that certain segments of the labor market, especially high-income workers and professions with little location-specific human capital, may be quite responsive to taxes in their location decisions.

—John Phelan