FFM Bulletin 3/22/11

Arbitrary teacher contract negotiation deadline costs taxpayers

A state-imposed deadline that pits school boards against the local teacher union has left taxpayers paying the bill. Since 2006 school districts across the state have been fined more than $3.5 million for failing to settle teacher contract negotiations, according to a Freedom Foundation of Minnesota analysis.

As FFM Vice President Jonathan Blake said, “Under the current system, districts are punished for standing their ground, while the union is rewarded for standing theirs. That policy hurts local governments and taxpayers."

To read the entire report, visit our website

Tax Foundation study ranks MN, 50 states in several key tax areas

The Tax Foundation recently released their 2011 Facts & Figures report that compares 32 different tax statistics among all 50 states. Minnesota’s rank in several key areas is rather concerning.
  • Minnesota ranked 7th highest in the “State and Local Tax Burden Per Capita” category, totaling $4,651 for each resident, more than any of our neighboring states. 
  • In terms of state tax collections per capita, Minnesota ranked eighth highest at $3,270, almost $1,000 more than the national average.
  • Also troubling was Minnesota’s 43rd place rank in the state business tax climate index. What makes this rank even more significant is that South Dakota was ranked 1st. After reading this disturbing fact about Minnesota taxes, I suspect we’ll hear even more radio advertising from our friends in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Tax Foundation distributes the report to every state legislator and governor in the country to serve as a go-to guide for where states rank on tax rates, collections, burdens, and more. To download and share the study, follow this link to the Tax Foundation website.

This is an important annual gauge of how Minnesota compares in competiveness. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to arm yourself with the facts.

Accountability Alert: Subsidized Energy-Saving Programs Also Provide Big Rewards for Nonprofit Provider

At least one group can boast a banner year despite the recession. According to tax documents from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, energy efficiency nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) reports total compensation for an employee as high as $275,332. As CEE president Sheldon Strom told FFM, “We were struggling for quite awhile and all of a sudden every program we were working on turned to gold. We’re trying to enjoy it while we can.”

The piece received attention from officials in St. Paul and was featured on BigGovernment.com last Tuesday. You can read the entire story here.

FFM News Update

Minnesota State News (www.mnstatenews.com) has featured several noteworthy pieces over the past week. Here are a couple highlights:
  • Reporter Jon Miltimore covered a hearing about convicted rapist John Rydberg who is seeking release from his civil commitment despite expert testimony which labels him as “a threat to society.”
  • MN State News also ran a piece on proposed legislation that could find children riding bicycles without helmets on the wrong side of the law. Though the bill is not currently scheduled for a hearing, you can view the details here.
Be sure to keep up with Minnesota State News by bookmarking our website, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter!

FFM CEO Annette Meeks was a featured guest on MPR Midmorning last Thursday. The segment featured a lively debate on Governor Dayton’s “snowbird tax” proposal. Is taxing Minnesotan’s with one foot already out the door the best way to balance the budget? Listen to the segment on our website.

Notice anything different about your utility bills?

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota is looking for testimonies from Minnesotans across the state who have seen sharp differences in their utility bills from a month or even a year ago. Submit your tips to the FFM Tip Line on our website! 


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