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Do Minnesotans get high value for high taxes? Evidence suggests the answer is no.

photo of article author
John Phelan
Are Minnesota’s taxes too high?

This was the question posed by MinnPost reporter Peter Callaghan last week. Nobody denies that Minnesotans are some of the most heavily taxed people in America. As the Center of the American Experiment noted in our report, “The State of Minnesota’s Economy: 2018,” the state’s top rate of income tax — 9.85 percent on taxable incomes over $156,911 — is higher than anywhere else apart from California, Hawaii, and Oregon. And Minnesota’s lowest income tax rate of 5.35 percent is higher than the highest tax bracket in 23 states.

But, so the argument goes, they get a lot from their state government in return for these high taxes. Callaghan quoted Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, as saying, “When people and businesses come here, they’re not doing us a favor to pay their taxes. … They know what they’re getting in return with the investments that we make in our roads and bridges and education and workforce.”


But is this true?

Franzen’s praise for Minnesota’s roads and bridges is rather surprising given that Gov. Tim Walz is proposing to raise the state’s gas tax by 20 cents a gallon – from 28th nationally to fourth – because, he says, “Minnesota’s crumbling infrastructure is putting our safety at risk.” Indeed, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently said that “Minnesota’s 140,000 miles of roads are in poor condition, earning a grade of a “D+.” In terms of “roads and bridges,” it isn’t clear what the “people and businesses” who come to Minnesota are getting for their high taxes.

Franzen might seem to be on firmer ground with the state’s education system. In the much-quoted U.S. News and World Report ranking, Minnesota comes in seventh nationally. On scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), our state ranks fourth.

But if this is a result of our high taxes, as Franzen argues, how do we explain the performance of Massachusetts, which comes top on the NAEP scores but ranked 11th lowest nationally in 2018 for its Individual Income Tax, according to the Tax Foundation, while Minnesota ranks 46th? How is it that New Hampshire’s education system performs better – ranking third – with an Individual Income Tax ranking of ninth nationally? At the other end, the District of Columbia ranks 48th nationally for its Individual Income Tax. On Franzen’s logic, it should have a good education system to show for this high tax burden. Instead, it ranks a lowly 51st on the NAEP scores.

In short, there is no correlation between how high a state’s tax burden is and how well its education system performs. The examples of New Hampshire and Massachusetts show that we could have slightly better educational outcomes at a much lower tax burden.

Minnesota has high taxes and lousy roads. It has high taxes and good educational outcomes, but other states have better outcomes with much lower taxes. The idea that Minnesotans get value for their high taxes is an article of faith in the state. Sadly, it isn’t supported by the evidence.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.

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Comments (87)

  1. Submitted by Erik Granse on 03/07/2019 - 08:26 am.

    As soon as I read the headline, I guessed the author was going to be from the CAE; there’s a certain sophomoric combination of earnestness and provocateur in they way they’re written that give them away.

    I’d be interested in reading a genuine take from an economist on how Minnesota’s tax levels should be adjusted to maximize overall quality of life, but that’s not what the author is doing. Franzen was making a general point about the level of services provided by government in Minnesota and offered a few examples which no reasonable person would assume is an exhaustive list. The author then looks for a few specific examples to contradict the general claim in service of his foregone conclusion.

    I’d be willing to bet that a plotting of rankings on various metrics against tax levels would show a clear correlation between high taxes and high outcomes; I wonder if the author has ever looked at the evidence *before* coming to his conclusions.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/07/2019 - 09:54 am.

    Once again, the CFE comes through with a opinion based on garbage analysis. If Franzen says it… it must be true. Seriously? THIS is your argument? Next.

  3. Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/07/2019 - 10:03 am.

    Hey, lets cherry-pick a couple of numbers and conclude there is no correlation. I have seen better analysis from elementary school kids. Minnpost should be embarrassed to publish this.

    Can we stop pretending that CAE is a respectable group? Just because they write (poorly) about economics and wear suits and ties doesn’t excuse their Islamaphobia and racism.

    • Submitted by Carter Maxwell on 03/07/2019 - 10:17 am.

      “Embarrassed” is exactly the right word. In a section devoted to Community Voices, they post a silly, shallow analysis from a lobbyist. How about using this space for voices that don’t already have a powerful megaphone.

    • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 10:40 am.

      That is incorrect. We ran the numbers for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found no correlation between how high a state’s tax burden is and how well its education system performs. You can see the full scatter plot here…

      https://www.americanexperiment.org/2019/03/minnesotans-get-high-value-high-taxes-evidence-suggests-answer-no/

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/07/2019 - 10:47 am.

        Again, this is 3rd grade analysis. Just embarassing.

        • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 10:53 am.

          In which way is it incorrect?

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/07/2019 - 11:19 am.

            Well, assuming the chart is plotted correctly (a big assumption, given the general incompetence here) it doesn’t show anything. Its a scatter plot. With 2 variables. So its not incorrect, just simplistic and meaningless. A quick Google search shows lots of research correlating spending and outcomes. Where people actually analyzed the date. That isn’t what’s going on here. This is a 3rd grade math project. A joke. Something that only the most economically illitetate would take seriously. And given the CAE’s Islamaphobia and other policy positions, maybe that’s the exact audience you are targeting.

            • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 11:27 am.

              If you think the chart is plotted incorrectly, plot it correctly and post a link.

              You also talk about ” lots of research correlating spending and outcomes”, but this is a discussion of levels of taxation, not spending.

          • Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/10/2019 - 01:43 pm.

            John, can you explain why Phelan uses income tax as the analysis? Wouldn’t total tax burden (incl Sales, Local, Property) be a better measure? In that case you’d find MA tax ranking allot closer to MN which contradicts at least on the claims in this article.

            • Submitted by Scott Walters on 03/11/2019 - 05:11 pm.

              Hooray for Tom Crain! Someone finally noticed our author’s attempt at a slight of hand. Total tax burden vs. Income Tax burden. Of course the water carriers at CAE hate income taxes…especially Minnesota’s progressive income taxes. They would prefer that their exceptionally wealthy clients be shielded from all taxation, but if that’s impossible, better the tax burden falls on the poor, as it does in NH.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 10:59 am.

        I don’t suppose you corrected for any other factors that might impact educational performance, did you?

        Perhaps you could also tell us how the low tax states ranked.

        • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 11:14 am.

          Which other factors should we correct for?

          And you can find how the low tax states ranked by looking at the link I’ve posted…

          https://www.americanexperiment.org/2019/03/minnesotans-get-high-value-high-taxes-evidence-suggests-answer-no/

          This gives the full scatter plot for all 50 states plus D.C. on taxes and NAEP scores.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 11:16 am.

          By which I mean, other low tax states.

          Frankly, I find it disingenuous to pretend that tax burdens are the only difference between New Hampshire and the District of Columbia.

          • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 11:28 am.

            So, again, which other factors should we correct for?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 11:39 am.

              Population, and population density.
              Poverty.
              Urban vs. rural.
              Prevalence of English as a second language.

              Those are only the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

              • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 11:47 am.

                In what way should we correct for ‘population’?

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 12:08 pm.

                  I am not a statistician, nor was meant to be. How to make the correction is not something I can tell you.

                  It does seem likely that population has or could have an impact on both tax burdens and educational results. Population correlates with the number of children being educated, and so would have a direct effect on the need for facilities, student:teacher ratios, availability of instructional materials, etc. How you translate that correlation into numbers is something that is beyond the capabilities of someone who is just working through “Statistics: A Very Short Introduction.”

                  • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 12:20 pm.

                    There are. of course, many things which could conceivably influence NAEP scores. What evidence is there that the size of a state’s population is one of them?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 12:47 pm.

                      This was quoted in January of this year on a locally prominent conservative website. It’s from the Cato Institute:

                      “The most popular and influential state education rankings fail to provide an ‘apples to apples’ comparison between states. By treating states as though they had identical students, they ignore the substantial variation present in student populations across states.”

                      The author of the post that quoted the Cato Institute article seemed to approve of its critique of the NAEP rankings. The author was a chap named John Phelan, who works at a place called the Center for the American Experiment. Ever hear of him?

                  • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 01:11 pm.

                    Indeed, that article was about how ethnic make up can affect NAEP scores and it showed that, once you take this into account, Minnesota actually does much worse. Would you agree with that?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 01:30 pm.

                      The residual effects of American racism, and the blindness to those effects, will continue to impact educational achievement (I’m not falling for any Herrenvolk argument).

                      The bigger point is, there are numerous factors that make the NAEP rankings meaningless. Correlating tax burdens with rankings, and making that out to be the sole factor differentiating states, is, at best, misleading.

                  • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 03:32 pm.

                    So if NAEP rankings are “meaningless”, which rankings do you suggest we use instead?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 03:43 pm.

                      I don’t know, sir. I’m not employed to write articles about things like that.

                      Since you’ve repeated criticism made by others of the NAEP, why don’t you let us know your suggestions?

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 10:20 am.

    Typical piece from one of the towering intellects over at Get Rid Of Slimy liberalS. Take one soundbite to criticize, throw a few cherry picked statistics at it, and then throw in a red herring. I’ve seen MLM sales presentations that had more compelling analysis.

    Does anyone still take these people seriously? I mean, as anything other than a source for comic relief (they’re not doing so hot on that one, either)?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/07/2019 - 10:59 am.

      They used to have a reputation as an intellectual conservative organization – whether that was deserved or not – but in recent years they have fully embraced bigotry and, as this piece demonstates, aren’t even trying to be intellectual anymore.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 11:40 am.

        They certainly squandered their reputation. One has to wonder why.

        I do give them points for largely avoiding the “smirk of privilege” that infects the prose of most conservative writers. Apart from that, entertainment value only.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/07/2019 - 12:07 pm.

          Have you been reading the author’s commentary. The smug stain of privilege is quite evident. Perhaps he gets a bonus for attempting to “own the libs” in the comment section?

  5. Submitted by Adam Miller on 03/07/2019 - 11:56 am.

    How does this get published? Given that states use a variety of taxes – income, property sales, etc – for funding, comparing margin income tax rates doesn’t actually tell you anything at all about relative tax burden across states. This argument is literally incomplete.

  6. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 03/07/2019 - 01:58 pm.

    An economist should at minimum understand that local property taxes are a major funding source for K-12 education. So in doing any sort of diligent analysis, he would also notice that property tax rates vary widely by state.

    New Hampshire folks pay much higher rates than Minnesotans, for example. State funding formulas vary widely and are not simply a product of an individual tax rate.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 02:57 pm.

      There is another point–I don’t know why it hasn’t been brought up before–that a better metric would be how much is spent on schools or on infrastructure.

    • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 03:31 pm.

      To repeat, the story is the same when you look at the tax burden in totality.

      • Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 03/07/2019 - 05:01 pm.

        Not really. You state that Massachusetts is 11th lowest in income tax. Yet it’s total tax burden is 18th highest. That narrows the difference significantly.

        • Submitted by Erich Russell on 03/07/2019 - 07:19 pm.

          You’re half way there Tim. The other half is that Massachusetts spends $15,593 per pupil across all taxes. Minnesota spends $11,949. With tongue firmly in cheek, I note the irony of the Center for the American Experiment proposing a 30% increase in education funding to keep up with the leader in outcomes.

  7. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 03/07/2019 - 02:06 pm.

    The more taxes one pays the less government they use.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 09:31 pm.

      Oh? Really? Can you back that up?

      If start a soft ware company, and I build my business with a work force that is largely educated in publicly funded schools and colleges (remember, many private college educations are funded at least in part by public loans and grants), do I “use” government?

      That’s how Bill gates became a billionaire. Or, to conservatives, a BILLIONAIRE.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 06:58 am.

      That has been proved definitely.

      The taxes productive, self sufficient people pay, infrastructure and protective services aside, are often used to subsidize and so encourage lifestyle choices that are in direct contradiction to their own best interests.

      It’s the cost of throwing aside our shared cultures, morals and traditions. It’s diversity’s fee.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/08/2019 - 09:20 am.

        “That has been proved definitely.”

        By whom, and how?

        “The taxes productive, self sufficient people pay, infrastructure and protective services aside, are often used to subsidize and so encourage lifestyle choices that are in direct contradiction to their own best interests.”

        What you’re basically saying is, that apart from the services that they use, people who pay taxes don’t use government services. That’s not much of an insight, I’m afraid.

        “It’s the cost of throwing aside our shared cultures, morals and traditions. It’s diversity’s fee.”

        Ein Volk? Nein, danke.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/08/2019 - 02:03 pm.

        And the Wilfs and the Pohlad kids, has it worked out for them? When Wal-Mart and Target get property tax holidays of ten years for a new store, does that help the well off? Or is that more welfare for the poor?

  8. Submitted by R. M. Ramsay on 03/07/2019 - 02:19 pm.

    I’ve had the displeasure of living in Illinois, Wisconsin, and the worse – by far – INDIANA. They brag about low taxes and ‘staying out of Indiana citizen’s private lives’; but they never say much about the poor education systems, the backward infrastructure, pollution, health, low annual wages and low secondary education graduation rates. Hey! But the taxes are low! Oh, the best state I lived in for 15 years? Far and away – MINNESOTA. You get what you pay for. Of course ol’ John boy Phelan can come down to INDEEANER and see the wonderful health care, education, infrastructure, etc., etc., OH – and lack of a healthy LIFESTYLE – for those low taxes.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 06:50 am.

      Paying higher taxes leaves less money to buy food, which perhaps forces one to make better selections and eat smaller portions. Also people that pay more may walk more because they can’t afford gasoline to fuel a car they can’t afford to own.

      I can see how high taxes force one into healthier lifestyles. Still, I’m not convinced it is healthy for government to force lifestyles on us, overall.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/08/2019 - 08:45 pm.

        Heh heh, are you serious? When the government subsidizes the production of crops like corn, wheat, and soy beans (all of which are problematic for our health) over fruits and vegetables, is that “the government forcing lifestyles on us”?

        When western cattle ranchers graze on tax payers lands at below free market rates, is that social engineering?

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 03/07/2019 - 03:14 pm.

    I miss the days when CAE did intellectually rigorous work.

    One observation from this piece: roads are poor (D+). Current gas tax in MN is 28th in the nation, coupled with one of the most challeging climates. Yet the author finds fault in the notion that raising gas taxes might be neccessary to improve road quality. Huh?

    • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 03:30 pm.

      No, as I say, I find fault in Sen. Franzen’s notion that Minnesota taxpayers get particularly good roads and bridges for their high taxes.

      Out of interest, when you say you “miss the days when CAE did intellectually rigorous work”, what is one bit of work of our your particularly admire?

      • Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 03/07/2019 - 04:48 pm.

        28th in gas tax. 5th in road miles. Longterm underfunding leads to bad roads.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 06:14 am.

          Fransen says you pay high taxes for good roads. Walz says your infrastructure is crumbling because your taxes are too low.

          Whose telling the truth?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/07/2019 - 05:37 pm.

        Are you telling us that you weren’t attempting any real analysis of the situation, but just publishing some lengthy snark about something a Democratic politician said?

  10. Submitted by Victoria Wilson on 03/07/2019 - 03:55 pm.

    Hilarious comments in the string today! There was better mud slinging on my elementary school grounds back when Nixon was running for president. Plus, hasn’t anyone heard? Pestering is passe. It’s time to be a bit more stoic and philosophical.

    Perhaps if you don’t agree with John Phelan, and I don’t entirely, you should figure out why Minnesota does it better in an environment that also has the benefit of collecting generous taxes. Because, he’s right: it is not ALL about the money.

    I’ll go first: We show up. We volunteer. We care and give feedback.

  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/07/2019 - 04:25 pm.

    Just a regular citizen here, not an economist. But I notice that Mr. Phelan, when challenged on his figures or analysis, asks, either plaintively or snidely: “Tell me what I should use, and how to do it.”

    He’s an economist? Doesn’t show.

    Quality of life does not depend solely on the school systems we have. It goes way beyond that, to good government and political activism and a solid sense that a community can actually achieve good things for people in general. One of the best times for establishing Minnesota quality of life was the Progressive Era at the beginning of the 20th century–when progressives were Republicans. A far cry from the “government is the enemy” attitude of the Center for the American Experiment, where every “study” it does seems to come up with the same answers.

    Minnesota has a better quality of life than many states, and that’s because we have income taxes and property taxes and sales taxes, plus minimal gas tax that should definitely be increased to pay for better roads and bridges and transit. Care has been taken to make income taxes progressive (the rich pay more, and why shouldn’t they?), to assure that property taxes are subsidized for those who might get “taxed out” of their homes (another progressive initiative), and to limit sales taxes so they do not apply to most basics, like food and clothing. That, too, is an attempt to set up progressive measures in taxation.

    I suggest Mr. Phelan spend some time in Mississippi.

    You pay for what you get. Such a capitalist motto, yet he refuses to apply it to quality of life!

    • Submitted by John Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 06:49 pm.

      “Minnesota has a better quality of life than many states, and that’s because we have income taxes and property taxes and sales taxes, plus minimal gas tax that should definitely be increased to pay for better roads and bridges and transit.”

      Again, the data dos not support your argument.

      https://www.americanexperiment.org/2018/10/isnt-minnesotas-high-taxes-make-state-great/

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/08/2019 - 09:24 am.

        Mr. Phelan, whatever your talents as an economist may be, you have a lot to learn about rhetoric. Citing a blog post that you wrote that basically says “Is not” isn’t especially persuasive of anything. Your “refutation” is nothing more than pointing out that you disagree.

        We got that part. Try something new.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 10:41 am.

          Citing a blog post that you wrote that basically says “Is not” isn’t especially persuasive of anything.

          Saying “This is all wrong!!”, without providing even so much as a link to a blog post to warrant it even less so.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/08/2019 - 11:30 am.

            Sorry, but it’s up to the author to prove what he says is correct. Saying something, and supporting it by repeating yourself, isn’t really proof.

            • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 12:58 pm.

              Huh. So how is he going to go about proving he is correct, when no one can coherently explain what they think is wrong? Every time someone has thrown out an unsupported opinion, he’s destroyed it.

              This is something the usual suspects are not used to, and aren’t ready for.

  12. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/07/2019 - 08:33 pm.

    The writer wraps up his piece by saying….”The idea that Minnesotans get value for their high taxes is an article of faith in the state. Sadly, it isn’t supported by the evidence.” Maybe as an economist(I did not see credentialing) the question should be are Minnesotans getting the services they would like for the money they are now paying in taxes? Or do taxes need to be increased to pay for those services. A household can establish a budget based on income with the hope that income improves with the expectation that income will not improve or one where income is stable. Schools are suffering still because they have been shortchanged for quite some time. The same applies to transportation, city infrastructure needs, and the environment.

  13. Submitted by Ted Hathaway on 03/07/2019 - 09:01 pm.

    What’s the point of this article? Why even bother? Looking to the CAE for informative commentary on govt policy is like asking the National Cattleman’s Beef Association for their opinion on the benefits of a vegan diet.

  14. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/07/2019 - 09:38 pm.

    It is unbelievable that Minn Post still runs articles by CAE, when we have no idea where they get their funding. Is it from any Koch-topus organizations? Corporate CEOs? Corporations?

    And since Mr Phelan (no relation, thank the Lord) is so prolific in the comment section, perhaps he can let us know, right here in the comment section. I’ll try to anticipate some of the questions he no doubt will have.

    Let’s have the entire budget, showing all of the income. Every source. Please be specific, nothing general, such as “institutional grants” or some such non-sense. Name names. If they folks don’t wish to be named, just return their checks.

  15. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 06:27 am.

    Whoo boy, the cognitive dissonance in the comentariat is at peak levels.

    Something *must* be wrong, after all the CAE is (shudder) conservative. But despite the combined brain power, no one can identify what it is, other than it *must* be wrong, because it makes you uncomfortable.

    One hopes that there is at least one putting some thought into that.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/10/2019 - 02:56 pm.

      He starts with a broad assertion that MN does not get high value for high taxes, and attempts to support this with just two examples related to only 25% Lets start with the fact the author is using ‘income taxes’ and not total taxes in his argument. Maybe he has a good reason for this, but he doesn’t explain it.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 03/10/2019 - 03:15 pm.

      He starts with a broad assertion that MN does not get high value for high taxes, and attempts to support this with just two examples related to only 25% of spending. Perhaps he should have narrowed his thesis to relate to transportation (or just roads) and education.

      His first argument is that our roads infrastructure is bad but doesn’t attempt to prove that MN spends more in taxes on it’s roads than other states. There are studies that have done the work this author didnt. For example https://reason.org/policy-study/23rd-annual-highway-report/minnesota/
      which would claim MN ranks 26 in disbursements per mile and 25th in Performance and Cost-Effectiveness.

      Re the 2nd argument of eduction: Lets start with the fact the author is using ‘income taxes’ and not total taxes in his argument. Maybe he has a good reason for this, but he doesn’t explain it. This fact alone undercuts his argument related to edu spending.

  16. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/08/2019 - 08:28 am.

    I wonder why we tax income of working people, or even profits of small business, when we could be taxing automation, pollution and rentier (making your money work for you) income?

    We penalize employment but incentivize pollution, putting people out of work, and the unproductive financialization of things. That is pathological, and ecocidal, but mostly tax discussion in America is just finding excuses to bankrupt government so we can privatize more and create an over-class that doesn’t produce much of anything but poverty and generalized illness.

    Funny, though not really, that taxes generally have been reduced for 40 years, with the argument that this creates jobs, but there are less full time jobs relative to population than there were in 1980. So-called conservatives want less taxes and less good jobs apparently, just more money for their nest egg….while Democrats sit in their nest eggs and talk about tolerance and diversity.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 09:14 am.

      Funny, though not really, that taxes generally have been reduced for 40 years, with the argument that this creates jobs, but there are less full time jobs relative to population than there were in 1980.

      The unemployment *rate* (as a percentage of population) is at it’s lowest since the 70’s. According to some leftists, we have to throw open the borders because there are not enough Americans to fill the positions open.

      Who is telling the truth?

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/08/2019 - 12:48 pm.

        Curtis,

        The unemployment rate is at historic lows….but, so is the labor participation rate at historic lows. How does that work? The Fed does not count people who aren’t looking for work, and they count people who are part time but would rather be full time.

        Thus about 38% of working age Americans are not working….and millions of people working are under-employed or working 3 jobs part time to get by. One wonders too, does the Fed count someone working 3 jobs as three people filling three jobs? Anyway, for most of Americans, this economy is not doing anything like as good as the chattering class likes to repeat.

        And yeah, the Left fighting to let in millions of people to compete with the working class, as if that will be good for working class income, is exactly what the Fed and it’s cronies in Wall Street and Corporate America and globalists love to see….

        So who indeed is telling the truth?

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 01:21 pm.

          And yeah, the Left fighting to let in millions of people to compete with the working class, as if that will be good for working class income, is exactly what the Fed and it’s cronies in Wall Street and Corporate America and globalists love to see….

          Do you realize you’re saying the left are the lackeys of the crony Capitalists? And by extension, dissident Conservatives on the right are fighting for the little guy.

          How do you reconcile that?

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/09/2019 - 12:30 pm.

            Many Dems and liberals are lackeys of the corporatist State, otherwise known as neoliberal globalists, enamored of empire, of capitalist consumer largess, happy to sell out working people to corporation, bank and billionaire.

            I would be happy to side with dissident conservatives fighting for the “little guy” if they were not also often to-hell-with-the-earth types, eternal privatizing warmongers, and hostile to government except when government is about a boot on neck of the “immoral Other littler guy”.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/09/2019 - 04:01 pm.

            By understanding that its delusional poppycock. Conservatives fight for themselves, full stop. That “every man an island” is the fundamental core of your belief, one that is incompatible with a pluralistic civilization that has intentions of lasting more than a few years before descending into chaos.

  17. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/08/2019 - 09:18 am.

    What some of us are suggesting is that Mr. Phelan’s analysis is naive and incomplete–he doesn’t seem to have any lived context for his assertions. He’s just playing with numbers (anyone who’s ever been in a statistics class could run circles around the way he plays the numbers he selects).

    Mr.Phalen can’t seem to get his head around the fact that our world in Minnesota–and the U.S.–contains lots of people like me, who are very happy to be taxed so that we don’t have to encounter beggars on the street, or step over people who are dying unattended on the street (I have seen a person dying on the street while people just walk around him; not in Minnesota, but boy! did that scene stick with me). I would like to help pay for people who can’t afford it to have health care and good housing and a solid education and jobs. I have enough to help the through careful government programs, so they don’t have to be demeaned by begging..

    So do lots of Republicans have enough to help. They just prefer not to help their neighbors in a structured way. They’d rather believe the falsehood that being poor is somehow just a function of a person’s bad life choices instead of the lousy hand she’s been dealt, that somehow reaching out our hands to give a lift to someone is stealing from Republicans who never took anything from government .

    That difference in mind-set is the source of our divided America: Some of us believe that the collectivity can work wonders together and we want to do that; others pretend to believe that they are social islands who never needed a government hand and never took one. Right.

  18. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/08/2019 - 10:08 am.

    What some of us are suggesting is that Mr. Phelan’s analysis is naive and incomplete

    No argument there. Problem is, no one has been capable of articulating a coherent argument to warrant that opinion, or produce a fact based rebuttal. For instance:

    anyone who’s ever been in a statistics class could run circles around the way he plays the numbers he selects

    Are you a statistician? If so, please, by all means run some circles. If not, how would you come to that conclusion?

  19. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 03/08/2019 - 10:20 am.

    You can always tell a garbage story when the author is one of the primary respondents, unless it is Britt Robson

  20. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 03/08/2019 - 10:32 am.

    I continue to be amazed at how the same party line (better schools, good roads, better health care, etc.) is used to justify the inequities that exist in a graduated tax system. In other words, class warfare.

    To those who have never lived elsewhere there is good quality of living in lower tax states. Your argument on schools, roads, etc is a hollow one because you probably have no basis for comparison and are short sighted and unwilling to listen to any other position.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/08/2019 - 12:15 pm.

      Or we have. I spent a good deal of time in the deep South, Mississippi in particular, as well as the less South Missouri. The conditions were third world at best. Tar paper shacks, disastrous roads (Missouri in particular), terrible problems with drugs and domestic crime. I would never go back, not even to visit. Not every low tax state has the advantage of oil, or mass migration of the elderly to paper over their deficiencies. There’s a reason I stay here in “high tax” Minnesota, its better than any other place I’ve been, including my birthplace to the East, slowly shriveling into irrelevance after taking the approach you desire.

  21. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/09/2019 - 10:28 am.

    Contrary to the title the answer has to be “Yes”, the easy why answer is if they didn’t they would vote with their feet. 2018-2019 population grew ~ 45K. Whether through birth or immigration, folks are voting to stay meaning, they see more value in staying, So we can surmise, why they chose to leave or stay, weather, taxes, life style, job etc. the fact remains, the population is increasing. The state ranks ~16th in GDP by state, above average, suspect that is a good thing, So perhaps the argument should be do we get the bang for our tax buck we expect? And of course that is subjective. Example, when comparing to low tax states, Not to get into all the data, but as an example, MN cover a lot of area ~ 87K sq. mi. which means we also have lots of roads, Hennepien county has ~12% of the roads but ~48% of the traffic, a lot more contributors than out state per mile driven.when it snows more or less all the roads/streets get plowed heavily traveled or not, no need to plow streets and roads in MS or TX. In out state a lot of roads W/O a lot of contributors to pay the snow plow driver, not to mention repair, replacement etc. . :
    The bang for the buck in education, seems we are ~ 13th according to US News. Again, assume most folks would surmise that as good,
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/education
    The fallacy in the argument, is that there are 1:1 correlations, with a particular topic. As other folks have stressed, “quality of life”, maintaining the boundary waters and state parks are not free, the DNR has 10,000 lakes to look after not to mention the rivers and streams, and lake Superior shore line, that oversight is not free. Taxes cover a very wide swath.

    ,

  22. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/11/2019 - 12:29 pm.

    And the $64,000 question would be:

    “If the data conclusively shows that our high tax rate produces results absolutely commensurate with those high taxes, would the CAE accept that and be happy?”

    I think not. They would continue to believe that government, unlike any other entity in life, has no correlation between spending and results. Want a better car, spend more money, want better schools, spend less money.

    The holy grail is out there somewhere: less taxes, better results: The CAE will keep looking; but; let’s cut taxes in the meantime…

  23. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/12/2019 - 04:27 pm.

    Realize that if the guy weren’t making these claims, he woukdn’t stay employed there.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/14/2019 - 08:25 am.

    It’s always funny when these CFTHAE people try to talk about “evidence”. The wouldn’t recognize legitimate evidence if were dropped on their heads. Debate gaming is not intellectual discourse or analysis.

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