THE PIONEER BLOG

Managing Growth in Malden & Somerville: A Tale of Two Cities

The influx of new residents into Boston and its surrounding communities has put growing pressure on the area’s housing stock. Just recently the median home price in Massachusetts broke $400,000, and there aren’t enough units available to meet the demand among natives, let alone newcomers. Boston’s satellite communities experience greater pressure than towns further out—and […]

Regulatory reform of the taxi industry is long overdue

If the events of the last several months are any indication, Uber’s future is not as certain as public sentiment might have suggested a year ago. But even though the company has taken hits on a number of fronts, Uber and other transportation network companies (TNCs) will continue to have the upper hand in the […]

METCO’s 50th Anniversary Focuses Attention on Pioneer’s Call to Expand & Improve the Program

The recent 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) has drawn attention to the program, which gives about 3,300 Boston and Springfield students the chance to attend high-performing suburban schools, and to findings from two Pioneer Institute studies about METCO. One of the Pioneer studies was cited in a lengthy feature on […]

The Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries Part 3: Comparing Presidential Salaries with State College & University Success Rates

  While many factors influence state university presidential pay rates, there isn’t always a correlation between those rates and student outcomes. Ideally, a university president would have a portion of his or her salary tied to student outcomes such as improved retention and graduation rates. To see how Massachusetts state colleges and universities stack up, […]

How Do Alternative Investments Stack up in State Pensions?

There are numerous expert opinion on the proper investment strategy for public pension funds. In 2012, the Pioneer Institute’s Ilya Atanasov cited concerns about risk and subpar returns in recommending that public pension funds divest from certain complex alternative including private equity and hedge funds. Instead, Atanasov suggested funds invest in safer, more stable assets […]

The Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries Part 2: A Deeper Look

Part 1 of this blog series on MA state colleges and universities addressed presidents’ salaries since 2010. In general, although public funding for MA higher education institutions—specifically the state college and non-UMass university system—is decreasing, university presidents received annual raises, and sometimes very large raises and expensive buyouts. The picture is a bit murky, though, […]

The Internet Sales Tax: Gone But Will It Be Back?

On June 30th, two days before it was scheduled to go into effect, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) pulled a directive that would tax online retailers without a physical presence in the state. Under the directive, any company that has over 100 transactions and at least $500,000 in sales in the state in the […]

Welcome to the Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries – Part 1

In a world of skyrocketing college tuition and student debt, the issue of college administration costs has become highly visible—and infuriating—for those footing the college bills. A large part of a higher education institution’s administrative costs come from salaries, including pay for presidents, executive boards, deans, and provosts. But these positions also sometimes come with […]

The Downgrade: Perhaps A Yawn But We’re Not Alone

Since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, economic indicators have been largely positive. The U.S. GDP in 2015 reached $16.3 trillion, finally surpassing the $16 trillion before the recession. U.S. unemployment has fallen to 4.3%, down from 10% at  the height of the recession. Yet despite the recent growth, 13 states including Massachusetts […]

“A Source of Wonderful Ideas and Terrific Innovation”

“…yet another idea that came out of the Better Government Competition, in real-time, delivered by Pioneer Institute to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…This organization, this event, for years and years and years has been a source of wonderful ideas and terrific innovation, and I want to, on behalf of the Commonwealth, thank you for your leadership […]

Understanding the Downgrade

S&P Global Ratings (S&P) recently downgraded Commonwealth and certain other Massachusetts agency bond ratings one notch from AA+ to AA. The AA rating is still considered a high mark in terms of the investment grade of the bonds, meaning S&P believes the state will meet its debt obligations.  While it is fair to say that […]

Aging, Technology Take Center Stage at 2017 Better Government Awards Gala

Last night, on an inspiring evening, against the backdrop of the beautiful Sail Boston parade of tall ships, Pioneer Institute held its annual Better Government Awards Gala. Longtime supporters and new friends gathered at the Boston Harbor Hotel to celebrate the country’s most innovative ideas to improve care for the aging, and leverage their skills in new […]

Community College Presidential Pay Raises Not Necessarily Based on Merit

Last year saw some of the highest recorded salaries for presidents of Massachusetts community colleges. The presidents of Greenfield, Bristol, Massasoit, Quinsigamond, and Mt Wachusett Community Colleges receive the highest, with annual earnings in the mid-$200,000 range.  These salaries are the result of rapid growth in the last five-to-six years. Compensation is generally based on […]