Entries by Etelson Alcius

Is a Universal Basic Income the future? You decide.

  With the cost of living on the rise, inflation eating away at the average American’s paycheck, and an economy that’s generated fierce debates about inequality and poverty, many have called for systemic reforms and even more radical  changes.  Some have embraced what’s called a universal basic income; others not so much. So what is UBI? How does it work in practice? What do the researchers think of it?  Here’s the general overview.  What’s the purpose? First proposed by Thomas Spence in the 18th century, UBI is a redistribution program in which all adults receive a regularly occurring stipend; think of an earned income credit for everybody. The concept drew attention in England during the 1920s, resurfaced in Western Europe […]

After 7 years, Massachusetts is still one of the least financially transparent states

In 48 states, elected officials are required to submit annual public financial disclosures. Among these states, Pioneer Institute ranks Massachusetts lowest in terms of the transparency of those financial disclosures.  Statements of Financial Interests (SFI’s) are designed to provide government transparency by giving the public some visibility into the financial information of public officials.  They allow voters to see if officials’ actions could be viewed as being in their personal interest rather than the public’s interest.  The SFIs are available to the public for inspection upon request.  Seven years ago, Pioneer identified three problems with the commonwealth’s financial disclosure system in its study Weak and Out of Reach, and recommended ways to improve the disclosures. In the years since, we […]

What’s going on with the economy in Cambridge?

Dubbed the city of squares, Cambridge, a leading innovation center, is home to some of the world’s most recognized technology companies and educational institutions. With an educated population and a knowledge-based economy, a lot has changed and a lot has remained the same for the city in the last decade.   Government revenue According to 2010 estimates, Cambridge reported per capita revenue at $4,030 in 2010. In 2020, that figure was $5,839; a 44.8 percent increase in a decade.  Additionally, the city brought in total revenue of $691,306,502 in 2020; far higher than any city in Middlesex County and third highest in the state.    According to the graphs above, total revenue in Cambridge has seen consistent and significant growth […]

Healthcare dominates the job market.

Healthcare and social assistance are among the most important services; but did you know the category is also one of the fastest growing?  Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of workers in this important industry. According to Masseconomix, the sector grew by 34 percent since 2004 in Massachusetts.  So what are the counties that are seeing the most and least growth in this sector? Figure 1: Sector Growth 2004 and 2020   As shown in Figure 1, the healthcare and social assistance sector was the commonwealth’s leading employer in 2004, and the trend has since accelerated. In 2004 the sector employed 538,081, and it rose to 722,988 in 2020, a near 35 percent increase. For perspective, healthcare and social assistance […]

Employment has risen across all counties except one.

Employment has remained strong in Massachusetts. With labor force participation of 66.7 percent as of April 2022, 4 percent higher than the national average, and employment growth nearing 10 percent since 2004, the state has one of the best labor markets in the nation thanks to counties like Middlesex and Suffolk.  But not all counties contribute to this success story.  As we begin to shift westward in Massachusetts, certain counties are far from the reality described above; one of them is Worcester. So what’s going on in the county, and what’s the reason for it?   County Employment Source: Pioneer Institute’s Masseconomix website As shown in the chart above, all counties, save for one, have experienced employment growth since 2004. […]

A Decade of Culture and Recreation Spending on Cape Cod

Culture and Recreation are among the most important services needed for the wellbeing of a community. Parks are grounds for socializing, playtime and community events and give residents the opportunity to build community spirit. The same goes for Cape Cod; but towns vary in the extent to which they provide these services. How does Barnstable County stack up?   Source: Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis website   As shown in the chart above, the towns with the highest per capita Culture and Recreation expenses were Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich at $405, $387, $379, $284, and $254, respectively. Barnstable and Falmouth spent the most in the aggregate, despite having some of the lowest expenditures on a per capita basis. Spending on […]

A Decade of Police Spending on Cape Cod

Police spending is often the subject of debate in town halls across the country. The implications of the funding or lack thereof can be significant to the safety of the communities impacted. In Barnstable County, police expenses make up a significant component of overall town spending, but what Cape Cod towns invest the most in this vital service? As indicated in the chart below, the towns with the highest per capita police spending were Truro at $852 followed by Provincetown and Wellfleet, at $792 and $556, respectively. The town with the lowest per capita police spending was Falmouth at $203.   Source: Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis website   In 2020, police spending in Truro represented 11.3 percent of its total expenditures, […]

Barnstable County: What Towns Tax the Most?

The housing market has been the center of American economic growth and decline for decades. Many potential home buyers consider residential property taxation and single-family tax bills in choosing a community. As such, property taxes can impact regional housing markets, as people consider whether those markets are affordable. One super-hot real estate market right now is Barnstable County, Massachusetts, which makes up most of Cape Cod.    So what do tax rates look like on the Cape? per $1,000 in assessed valued.   According to the graph above, the tax rates per $1,000 in assessed value for the majority of municipalities within Barnstable county are far below the statewide average of $14.92, with the town of Sandwich as the only […]