Entries by Jack Landsiedel

A Conversation about Massachusetts Charter Schools: Retention Rate and Age Trends Among Public Educators

Massachusetts was home to 400 school districts in the 2020-2021 school year, 78 of which are charters.  Established by the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, public charter schools in the Commonwealth have delivered on their promise of access, outcomes, and opportunity. In 2018, Pioneer Institute Senior Fellow Cara Stillings Candal published The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation.  She suggests that the success of charters lies within a model of social entrepreneurship, allowing for autonomy in curriculum, hiring, and management while being held accountable for outcomes.  If a school doesn’t perform well, its charter is revoked. Using statewide educator reports from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Pioneer set out to create […]

The COVID-19 Impact on Massachusetts Community College Enrollment & Success Trends

Enrollment at Massachusetts community colleges has dropped 32.61 percent over the past decade.  The trend was exacerbated by the pandemic, as Fall 2020 enrollment plummeted 11.32 percent from the previous year.  According to a Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) report, this change was expected based on population and demographic shifts, but the COVID impact may have specifically impacted low-income students and students of color. Pioneer set out to describe time trends in enrollment and success trends alongside presidential salaries at the Commonwealth’s community colleges using data from Pioneer’s MassOpenBooks transparency tool and the DHE Data Center. DHE’s fall unduplicated student headcount includes all for-credit community college students regardless of full/part-time or degree-seeking status.  In Fall 2020, that number was […]

Massachusetts Is Losing Adjusted Gross Income to No-Income Tax State Migration

In light of a proposed tax increase on million-dollar annual incomes headed for the ballot in Massachusetts, Pioneer set out to determine if the Commonwealth is losing out to the nine states that do not collect any income taxes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.  Technically wage tax-free, Tennessee just phased out remaining income taxes on interest and dividends this January, while a pending bill would usher in the same change in New Hampshire over the next five years. The idea of no-income tax states is generally attractive, but potential migrants should understand a state’s whole tax picture before making a move.  For example, Tennessee has the highest combined sales tax rate in the […]

Massachusetts Residents Are Opting to File for Residential Energy Tax Credits

In 2018, 14,230 Massachusetts taxpayers received a total of $65,868,000 in green energy tax credits on their federal returns, but how can more take advantage of this offer?  Pioneer set out to compare data on Residential Energy Credits (RECs) between Massachusetts and its New England neighbors using Pioneer’s Massachusetts IRS Data Discovery site.  RECs are a non-refundable credit recently extended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that reimburses taxpayers up to 26% for costs on new builds or home renovations for tax years 2020 to 2022.  This is less than the 30% rate for 2012-2019, according to previous versions of IRS Form 5695, and the rate will fall again to 22% in 2023.   Part I of REC, the Residential […]

Putting in the Extra Hours: The Spike in Mass. Department of Public Health Overtime Pay during COVID-19

During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) payroll data presented a 29.09% increase in the average employee’s overtime pay from the previous year. Pioneer wanted to dig deeper into the Department’s compensation trends to put the $5M bump in 2020 DPH overtime pay into perspective.