Entries by Nina Weiss

PILOT Agreements: Nonprofits’ Fair Portion or Government Extortion?

A new white paper by Pioneer Institute calls for increased transparency over the basis for payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) agreements between municipal governments and nonprofit organizations, while also encouraging nonprofits to publicize and expand the community benefits they provide.

The Graduated Income Tax Trap: A Tax on Small Businesses

This policy brief finds that the state constitutional amendment promoted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union to add a 4 percent surtax to all annual income above $1 million will adversely impact a significant number of pass-through businesses, ultimately slowing the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Where Did the Largest PPP Loans Go? Assessing the distribution of loans by industry

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on all parts of the economy, including small businesses. As part of the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with the explicit intent of helping small businesses survive the tumult of the past few months. The PPP provides low-interest — and, in many cases, forgivable — loans to small businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines small businesses as establishments with 500 employees or less, and the maximum loans issued were for $10 million. On July 6, the SBA published a list of businesses that received loans in the amount of $150,000 or more. Using this data, Pioneer developed a PPP Loan Tracker, which presents loan recipient and lender information […]

Data, Attitudes, and Ecommerce: Noteworthy trends in retail for the present and future

Following the July 16th release of the June Retail Sales Report that detailed a more than 17% jump in total retail sales in the U.S. from April to May and an additional 6.4% jump in June, many Americans may assume that brighter economic days are ahead. While it may be indicative of some degree of economic resilience during the pandemic, this surge holds a bit more complexity and highlights retail trends of note for both the near future and the months ahead. Figure 1. Estimated Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services, by Kind of Business, Percentage +/-, June 2020 v June 2019, May 2020 v May 2019, April 2020 v April 2019 (millions) Source: U.S. Census Bureau Advance Monthly […]

How Should Massachusetts Reopen Its K–12 Schools in the Fall? Lessons from Abroad and Other States

This report asserts that, with the fall semester fast approaching, Massachusetts should provide more specific COVID-19-related guidance for school districts about ramping up remote learning infrastructure; rotating in-person cohort schedules; diversifying methods of communication between students, parents, and teachers; and investigating physical distancing capabilities.  Districts must determine whether to adopt in-person, remote, or hybrid schooling options, and they will not be ready for the fall unless the state provides clear direction.

One UMass System, Different Reopening Plans

One UMass System, Different Reopening Plans On March 11, UMass President Marty Meehan made the decision to shift all five UMass campuses to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. This decision was echoed by many other universities across Massachusetts and the nation in response to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the four UMass campuses that serve undergraduates continue finalizing their plans for the fall and beyond, it seems that the system is permitting each school’s local landscape to factor into campus reopening plans. This is an encouraging sign. Given that UMass-Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell are all unique campuses, they need not chart the same path. Table 1 demonstrates that the areas surrounding UMass undergraduate campuses […]