• Many US communities are blocking medical marijuana
    More and more states are saying yes to medical marijuana. But local governments are increasingly using their laws to keep dispensaries out.January 9, 2012
  • 'Use-it-or-lose-it' health account spending rule could get lost
    The use-it-or-lose component of flexible spending accounts sends many people racing to use the money by year's end. But there is some chance the use-it-or-lose rule could be overturned, perhaps next year.December 30, 2011
  • Forced to Choose: What we learned about community budgets in tough times
    We launched our Forced to Choose series nearly three months ago with the knowledge that Minnesota communities are being pressed to make harder and harder decisions about their futures. As we wrap up this local-government tax and budget season, we've asked for a takeaway from the three reporters covering the story.December 29, 2011
  • Forced to choose, communities raise taxes, cut jobs
    Property taxes are going up, and many local government jobs are going away. As 2011 comes to an end, those two main themes emerge from our Forced to Choose series examining the decisions Minnesota's 3,200 cities, counties, townships and school districts have been making. Above, a neglected public hockey rink in Duluth.December 29, 2011
  • Forced to Choose: People to Watch
    As communities face tight budgets and calls for more efficient government, leaders have accepted the challenge to varying degrees. Some have stepped up with new ideas and are forging the path toward reinvention.December 29, 2011
  • Forced to Choose: Places to Watch
    Thousands of Minnesota leaders make tax and spending decisions virtually every week and in every corner of the state. Here are eight communities especially worth keeping an eye on through 2012 and beyond as state fiscal policies, demographic changes and demands for efficiency continue to force hard decisions.December 29, 2011
  • Forced to Choose: Frequently Asked Questions
    A primer on why local governments in Minnesota are feeling pressure and what they're doing about it.December 29, 2011
  • Minnesota scrutinizes 40-year-old 'Miracle'
    A 40-year-old idea that shifted the way Minnesota pays for many local government services -- the "Minnesota Miracle" -- is getting new scrutiny as budgets tighten.December 23, 2011
  • Looking for dollars, Minnesota cities turn to sales tax
    As financial pressures bear down on local governments, an increasing number of cities are trying to turn to the local sales tax as a means of increasing their revenue. The state is looking for fondly on the idea than it used to.December 23, 2011
  • Director fired from commission that oversees environmental spending
    Susan Thornton is out as the director of the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources,December 20, 2011
  • Health coverage required minimum to be set by states
    The Obama Administration said it'll give individual states a major role in determining the minimum benefits health insurers must provide under the federal health care law in 2014.December 17, 2011
  • Drive for efficiency changes look of local government
    A movement is afoot to rethink the way Minnesota's local governments function. More efficient ways to deliver services could mean collaborations to reduce overhead, doing away with services that don't work or even erasing boundaries on the map.December 14, 2011
  • Even policing gets scrutiny as cities scour budgets
    After whittling away at other services, Hendricks and other cities are even asking just how much law enforcement they need. Some of them are choosing to cut law enforcement to save money.December 14, 2011
  • Assessment challenges grow, add to budget pressure
    Property owners are increasingly challenging their assessments in court, adding to the budget pressure on local governments.December 12, 2011
  • Feds to allow use of Medicare data to rate doctors
    Picking a specialist for a delicate medical procedure like a heart bypass could get a lot easier in the not-too-distant future.December 5, 2011

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