Archive | Economics

Wyoming is Asking the Right Questions About Job Creation

It’s no longer news that business incentive programs are controversial. A landmark New York Times investigation back in 2012 found that state and local governments gave up more than $80 billion each year to companies. Further back but closer to home, a 2008 report from Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor concluded that the now-defunct […]

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Chart of the Day: New York City Uber Effectiveness with and without Surge Pricing

Here’s an interesting chart from The Economist (sent in by Board Member Dana Demaster) that centers on the effectiveness of “surge pricing” as used by Uber in Manhattan. Here you go: The concept of surge pricing is something that comes up a lot in urban design discussions, especially around solving issues like parking, transit fares, […]

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Lost Right-Of-Way Fee Found at Ford

In August 2016, the city of Saint Paul lost a court case in the Minnesota Supreme Court.  It was about right-of-way fees, a primary funding source for the city’s roads.  To make a long story short, the court found that the fee was not a fee but a tax, meaning that every non-profit and government property […]

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Placemaking and Animal People: Why “Night in the Woods” Rocks

Night in the Woods is a video game about an anthropomorphic cat. It’s also one of the most insightful explorations of the challenges struggling communities face today — and the hidden strengths that bring those communities together. Night in the Woods tells the story of a college dropout named Mae who returns to her hometown […]

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It’s Crossing the Street, Stupid

First off, apologies for the insult. The title is of course a riff on the famous 90s political truism, “it’s the economy, stupid.” It’s amazing to me how easily we forget this little fact. Facilitating safe easy street crossings should be “job one” for any urban street design, and yet so many of our streets […]

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Seven Ways Automobility Undermines a City’s Bottom Line, from Least to Most Direct

Earlier this month, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul released their property tax levy numbers, and for both cash-strapped core cities, they went up quite a bit. Despite the recent development booms in both downtowns, the fiscal facts on the ground remain stubborn. Saint Paul and Minneapolis have a lot of needs, and funding them is […]

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Minnesota Property Taxes Explained, Part 2: How are Property Taxes Calculated?

In Part I I covered the basics of what property taxes are.  This time I’ll dive into how exactly property taxes are calculated, starting with (for Minneapolis) the half billion dollar question. What is tax capacity? In its simplest form, the tax capacity of a property is its taxable market value (explained below) multiplied by its class […]

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Minnesota Property Taxes Explained, Part 1: What are Property Taxes?

It’s budget season in Minneapolis, and the rest of the state. This is a complex process, but the question on everybody’s minds is “how will my property taxes be impacted?” A simple question with a rather complicated answer. Hopefully I can shed a little light on it. In this first part of a planned three-part […]

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Chart of the Day: Land’s Share of US Home Prices

Via Visualizing Economics, here’s a cool chart showing the percentage of a home’s value that is tied up in land (as opposed to the house itself). Here’s the chart: The chart’s maker, Catherine Mulbrandon, doesn’t say much about this other than to point towards the dataset, which comes from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. […]

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Chart of the Day: Small Business Turnover vs. Gentrification in New York City

From City Observatory, here’s an interesting chart ripped from a study about small business turnover and gentrification in New York City. It compares the number of businesses that close, go vacant, or are replaced with new businesses in gentrifying and non-gentrifying neighborhoods (gentrifying neighborhoods were defined as meeting a certain change in income within a census tract). Here’s […]

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