Eric Harris Bernstein

Eric Harris Bernstein

Eric Bernstein is a policy analyst focused on state tax and budgetary policy. Since the summer of 2020, he has been policy director for We Make Minnesota — a coalition of labor and community groups organizing to raise state revenue for investment in health care, education, racial equity, sustainable environmental stewardship and other public priorities.


DFL voters reject tax cuts and neoliberalism at the State Fair

By: - September 6, 2023

At the State Fair, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party conducted a highly scientific study of voter preferences. Visitors to the party’s booth were given a small number of soybeans and prompted to vote for their favorite policies passed during the 2023 legislative session. As of 5 p.m. on Labor Day, the rankings (see photos above) were […]


DFL House and Senate leadership are right to be united for fairer corporate taxes

By: - May 1, 2023

Last week, Senate Taxes Committee Chair Ann Rest revealed her omnibus tax bill and it contained a major surprise: A provision called worldwide combined reporting would end one of the most popular forms of corporate tax avoidance by requiring multinational corporations to pay income taxes based on their global profits, rather than just the portion […]


Even sales taxes can make society more equal

By: - April 4, 2023

The Minnesota Legislature is considering whether to approve two metro area sales taxes; one levied at .75% dedicated to funding roads and transit, and another levied at .25% dedicated to various housing programs. Combined, they would raise about $1.2 billion over the 2024-25 biennium. Some people oppose these sales taxes because they are regressive, which […]


Ignore the big numbers — surpluses can quickly become deficits

By: - March 21, 2023

Budget season is heating up at the state Capitol, and with a surplus commonly pegged at $17.5 billion, there is a general sense that Minnesota has money to spare. Flush as the state may seem, we’d be mistaken to underestimate long-term spending needs and the budgetary challenges that could arise from ongoing tax cuts.  The […]


Tax cut on Social Security benefits doesn’t help those who most need it and is too expensive

By: - February 22, 2023

If you’ve heard anything at all about state tax policy this year, you have heard that Minnesota legislators are considering cutting state income taxes on Social Security benefits. At $1.26 billion and with 70% going to the top-earning 20% of seniors, exempting Social Security benefits from the state income tax is a bad idea that […]


5 budget priorities for the DFL in 2023

By: - November 22, 2022

The DFL shocked election predictors by gaining control of the state Senate to win unified control of the government for the first time in nearly a decade. With a $12 billion surplus and two years to govern, DFL legislators are in an excellent position to pass major investments that will improve Minnesotans’ financial, social and […]


Jensen’s tax cut would require deep spending cuts Minnesotans of both parties will reject

By: - October 25, 2022

By now you have probably heard that Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen has proposed eliminating Minnesota’s income tax, which provides more than half of all state general fund tax revenue. Last week, a Minnesota Reformer analysis showed this would overwhelmingly benefit the highest-earners while requiring substantial increases in sales and property taxes that fall […]


Here’s who would benefit from Scott Jensen’s income tax plan

By: - October 18, 2022

Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen is campaigning on abolishing the state income tax. At $15.7 billion or 54% of projected 2023 general fund revenues, it is a costly idea that would force some combination of drastic increases in sales and property taxes, and draconian cuts to major public programs like schools, hospitals, roads and […]


Disregard for essential workers will hurt us all | Opinion

By: - May 17, 2022

On April 29, the Legislature agreed to spend $2.7 billion of the state’s $9.2 billion surplus to replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund rather than having businesses pay higher tax rates to refill it themselves, as normally required by law. The move, which will generate considerable savings for businesses following one of the most profitable […]


Data: The GOP tax cut plan is tilted to the rich | Opinion

By: - April 5, 2022

With a startling $9.2 billion budget surplus, legislators in St. Paul are locked in a debate about what to do with the money. Gov. Tim Walz and the DFL have proposed a mix of spending and one-time rebates, while Republicans have their eyes set on permanent tax cuts. The centerpiece of the GOP tax cut […]


Surplus provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — don’t blow it | Opinion

By: - March 4, 2022

Since the pandemic began, Minnesotans have been deluged with stories about our faltering public institutions. From over-crowded hospitals to understaffed schools to a shortage of child care, and the housing crisis underneath it all, our biggest social challenges have become a matter of broad familiarity and general consensus. The obvious connections between these issues are […]