Entries by Michael Weiner

Green Line Extension gets approval from Feds, but is this really the end of the headache?

The proposal to extend the MBTA’s Green Line from Lechmere into Somerville and Medford, which has been beset by obstacles at seemingly every turn, has finally taken an important step forward.  Part of an environmental mitigation commitment connected to the Big Dig, the Green Line Extension (GLX) initiative appeared to have been in serious jeopardy […]

Lessons Learned during Summer Travels: BRT in Curitiba, Brazil

Boston is a city with rich history, vibrant cultural traditions, influential and prestigious academic institutions, and wildly successful sports teams.  It is a city with much to be proud of.  However, it is also a city with much to improve upon, but some models for improvement lie in cities with vastly different attributes. Take, for […]

Addressing Inequality through K-12 Education in Boston

According to a new Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) study cited by The Boston Globe, nearly half of Boston residents make under $35,000 per year. These findings, coupled with a January Brookings Institution report ranking Boston number one nationally in income inequality, paint a worrisome picture of the city.  Sadly, many of those left behind in […]

The Real Source of UMass R&D Spending

UMass issued a report and a press release Tuesday citing a record level of research and development spending at UMass in fiscal year 2015. “Despite the tightening of the funding environment, the University of Massachusetts saw sponsored research increase by 4.3 percent during the past year, reaching a record $629 million, President Marty Meehan announced […]

What the Brian Joyce Saga Says about Government Transparency in Massachusetts

One state senator’s dirty laundry may be catching up with him. Pioneer Institute previously covered the troubles facing former Senate Assistant Majority Leader Brian Joyce, after he faced scrutiny over allegedly using the status of his office to receive free dry cleaning services and designer sunglasses, among other possible ethical lapses. Last week, his Canton […]

Thoughts on Transparency: Full Disclosure of Gasoline Taxes

One of Pioneer Institute’s ongoing goals is to promote government transparency in the state. With the 2015 release of Agenda for Leadership, Pioneer’s James Stergios and Mary Connaughton put forth a comprehensive plan to increase the economic freedom and mobility of Massachusetts citizens.  To do so, transparency plays a crucial role.  After all, citizen engagement […]

Comparing Retirement Benefits for MBTA and other State Employees

Pioneer’s latest report, A $49 Million Sweetheart Deal: How MBTA Employee Unused Sick Perk Enhances Pensions, illustrates how MBTA employees are taking advantage of a 1975 arbitrator’s decision to reap substantial retirement benefits through their unused sick days. The report further illuminates the incredible sums of money being spent at the MBTA on salaries and […]

Report Ranks Boston No. 1 in Income Inequality: What Does It Mean?

A report published last week by the Brookings Institution ranked Boston number one, but not in a good way. The report gave Boston the ignominious title of having the nation’s worst income inequality, according to its 95/20 ratio (the difference in income between households in the 95th percentile and those in the 20th). Boston placed […]

Airing the State’s Dirty Laundry: New Findings Raise Questions Regarding Ethics and Transparency

More dirty laundry is coming to the surface in the Massachusetts state legislature.  The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that former senate assistant majority leader Brian Joyce, already in hot water after buying designer sunglasses at a massive discount for all of his senate colleagues last January, spent over a decade taking advantage of free […]