Entries by Eamon McCarthy Earls

Boston companies can partner with public universities to create fintech skills pipeline

Read this op-ed in the Boston Business Journal. Financial technology, or fintech, encompasses a variety of new technologies, including algorithmic asset management, thematic investing, and cryptocurrency, which are set to have a significant impact on the 200,000 workers in the Massachusetts finance and insurance industries. Last year, The Boston Business Journal reported that finance and manufacturing were the only two industries in Boston that experienced declining headcounts—finance due in part to more automated fintech processes. Opimas, a consulting firm, indicates that 90,000 asset manager jobs will be automated by 2025, potentially spelling bad news for many asset management professionals in Boston’s own Financial District. This and other alarming statistics, such as projected 60 percent declines in profits for companies that fail to […]

MassAnalysis: Drawing data-based comparisons between cities and towns

Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns—a constellation of communities ranging from small towns like Gosnold to major metropolises like Boston. But drawing comparisons between communities and getting a sense of how different municipal governments stack up has traditionally been very difficult. With the MassAnalysis data tool, created by the Pioneer Institute, it’s possible to gain visibility and meaningful insights by setting peers for a given community across numerous metrics. Let’s take a look at Worcester, the “Heart of the Commonwealth” and its second-largest city, and see how it stacks up. Revenue, Expenditures and Debt Among its immediate peer group, which includes the 20 most populous cities in the state, Worcester collects total annual revenue of $3317 per capita, which comes […]

MassAnalysis: Understanding local debts

Although they must maintain balanced budgets, Massachusetts municipalities routinely go into debt to fund local projects. By borrowing and issuing bonds, they can opt to finance everything from new schools to the acquisition of conservation land. Using MassAnalysis, a powerful data tool created by the Pioneer Institute, let’s explore some of these debt figures across the Commonwealth and gain insights on the positions of various communities. When it comes to financing local projects, municipalities are limited by Proposition 2 ½ which passed by referendum in 1982, limiting annual property tax increases to 2.5 percent of the assessed value in any given municipality. However, through a town-wide vote, a community can pass a temporary debt exclusion tax hike or can override […]

MassAnalysis: The scoop on Massachusetts municipal crime data

Preventing crime is a key concern for communities across Massachusetts. But how do different municipalities stack up in the fight against violent and property crime? With the help of the Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis tool, we’ll take a look at up-to-the-minute data that gives a sense of crime across the Commonwealth. Violent crime By the raw 2017 numbers, Boston registered the largest number of violent crimes in the state, with a total of with 4,570.  This is no surprise, given that it is by far the Commonwealth’s most populous city.   However, the pattern for violent crime doesn’t mirror population after that point. In 2017, Springfield and Worcester were nearly tied for violent crimes, with 1,351 and 1,345 respectively. Brockton stood in […]

MassAnalysis: In search of a strong financial footing

You don’t have to be a member of the Finance Committee to know how fiscally responsible your town officials behave. With the MassAnalysis tool, created by the Pioneer Institute, residents as well as policymakers can better understand the financial position of their communities and factors as wide-ranging as tax bases, municipal expenditures and state aid transfers. Available resources in terms of assessed property value and other streams of revenue play a major role in the financial standing of cities and towns. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in 2017 Boston and Cambridge led the pack in the value of assessed property due in part to high housing demand and the concentration of large companies in both cities.  However, other hubs for industrial parks and […]

MassOpenBooks: A look inside MassPort

Every day, thousands of passengers pass through Logan Airport, a facility run by the Massachusetts Port Authority, or MassPort. What many may not realize is that in addition to its state agencies, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts grants public-employee benefits and funding to several large “quasi-public” agencies. MassVentures and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership lead the pack in average employee pay, with $109,958 and $102,245, in 2016, respectively. But MassPort, which also manages Norwood and Hanscom Airports, isn’t far behind at $78,307. Using Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks tool, let’s take a look at MassPort’s finances. MassPort Police Even though MassPort has handed off virtually all public safety duties to Troop F of the Massachusetts State Police, it has retained the MassPort Police. Every […]

MBTAAnalysis: A look inside the MBTA

The MBTA shuttles over a million passengers a day around Greater Boston on buses, trains, trolleys, subways and ferries. The system is essential for commuters within core metropolitan communities, outer suburbs and even many Gateway Cities. But the T has had a long history of troubling cost overruns, long delays, poor service, and at times rundown equipment and infrastructure. Massachusetts residents deserve a transit system that works effectively and efficiently, which can be achieved through transparency and good management. With Pioneer Institute’s MBTAAnalysis tool, everyone from citizens to policymakers can explore the inner financial workings of the MBTA and make sense of the data. Let’s take a look at a few insights about how the T runs. Thanks in part […]