Comparing Minneapolis and Minnesota’s Budgets

Based on the conglomeration of property taxes, proposed taxes, fees, and suggested fees the MN GOP rolled up in their anti-Rybak talking points, you’d think that the City of Minneapolis budget must have ballooned at a ridiculous rate over the time Rybak has been in office.

I decided to take a look at the annual budgets for Minneapolis and compare them to the State of Minnesota’s budgets going back to 2001 to see how different they really are. Here’s what I found.

Keep in mind that Rybak was first elected in 2001 and Pawlenty in 2002, so the budgets they’ve had sway over started in following years.

When I plotted the two budgets by year, I ended up with this:

MN and Minneapolis Annual Budgets

Since the state’s budget is around 15X larger than Minneapolis’ budget, I decided to look at the relative growth of each with 2001 being the base year. That looks like this:

Percent Change in Minneapolis and MN Budgets Since 2001

What that tells me is that both budgets are actually quite similar. Notice that both budgets to a serious dive in 2010. It’s almost as if both Pawlenty and Rybak are bucking for a promotion.

I then compared both the 2010 and 2009 budgets to 2001 to see how things have changed over time:

Budget Growth Snapshots

Comparing 2009 to 2001, the City of Minneapolis and State of Minnesota’s budgets grew at nearly identical rates: Minneapolis’s budget grew 33.10% over eight years while the state’s grew 32.74%. Comparing 2010 to 2001, Minneapolis’ budget grew 19.76% to the state’s 17.45%. That an annual growth rate of ~2.29% vs 2.03%.

And, visualizing the past year’s heading-into-an-election cuts here is the comparison in cuts at the city and state level:

Minneapolis and MN Budget Cuts 2010 vs 2009

It seems to me like the City of Minneapolis’ budget has tracked pretty darn closely with the state’s budget. They’ve both grown at a relatively conservative rate over time, and both were cut by similar amounts this year.

To me, it seems like it would be difficult for someone to make the case that Minneapolis is somehow different than the rest of the sate of Minnesota based on this data.

If the MN GOP is trying to portray Rybak as someone who’s continually squeezing more tax & fee dollars out of his constituents to build a bloated budget, why hasn’t the budget grown at a disproportionate rate to Pawlenty’s?

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