THE PIONEER BLOG

NEW: MassWatch IRS Data Discovery Tool

If you want a window into taxation, to learn where Massachusetts residents move to and where new residents are coming from, Pioneer Institute has an innovative research tool for you. With Pioneer’s new Mass IRS Data Discovery Tool, you can now compare state-to-state or year-to-year tax data without downloading up to 2,000 IRS files in many different, cumbersome formats.

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 […]

A Closer Look at Public Higher Education Employees in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is home to many colleges and universities, both public and private. Over the last 10 years, the average pay of public higher education employees in the Commonwealth has increased by 38.43%. In 2010, the average salary of these employees was $37,827. The average salary increased to $52,363 by 2020. However, the number of employees in Massachusetts public higher education systems has decreased by 4.43% from 2010 to 2020. In 2010, there were 47,758 higher education employees, and by 2020, there were 45,643 employees. However, this decreasing trend was not consistent across all 10 of these years (Figure 1). Between 2019 and 2020 alone, there was a 9.13% decrease in the number of higher education employees. Figure 1. The change […]

Civil Rights Leader Bob Woodson on 1776 Unites & Race in America

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center that supports neighborhood-based initiatives to revitalize low-income communities, as well as author and editor of the May 2021 book, “Red, White, and Black.”

Where are Barnstable residents migrating to?

Using Pioneer Institute’s newest database, Massachusetts IRS Data Discovery, we can see migration trends among Massachusetts citizens to other U.S. states and counties from 2019. For a specific example of migration, we can look at Barnstable County (Cape Cod) to see if there are any apparent trends in the destinations of departing Barnstable residents.   States and counties Barnstable county residents are migrating to in 2019: net returns (number of migrants to and from Barnstable): Connecticut 96 New York 44 Foreign 26 New Hampshire 24 Maryland 21 Illinois 20 District of Columbia 1 California -7 Washington -20 Virginia -21 South Carolina -22 Arizona -29 Maine -46 Rhode Island -58 Florida -352 Table 1 IRS database/AGI migration   Table 1 shows […]

Chasing Election Integrity: Strict Voter ID Laws’ Impact on Turnout and Fraud

Joe Selvaggi talks with Harvard Business School Professor Vincent Pons about his recently released NBER paper on the effects of strict voter ID laws on voter behavior and fraud across the United States over 10 years, examining the results of the 1.6 billion observation dataset by age, race, gender, and party affiliation.

Jeeves & Wooster’s World The Comic Genius of P.G. Wodehouse – 30 Resources for Parents & Students

Life and writing can and should be playful, witty, light, fun, and make us smile. This is particularly important during the hard realities and sometimes loneliness of COVID, lockdowns, masks, and the increasingly stilted use of language today. To provide some much-needed comic relief and to help people of all age groups glory in the English language, take ourselves less seriously, and laugh more – please enjoy the world of P.G. Wodehouse!

Understanding Property Tax, Property Value, and Tax Levy Trends in Massachusetts

According to Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis tool, single family property tax bills in Massachusetts increased dramatically between 2003 and 2020. In 2003, the average single family property tax bill was $3,094. By 2020, the average property tax bill had nearly doubled to $5,969. In general, property taxes represent the largest source of revenue for Massachusetts municipalities. Typically, differences in property values help inform tax rate discrepancies. For example, municipalities with low property values need higher tax rates to raise the same revenue as higher property value communities. Other factors, such as assessment rate and property tax exemptions or abatements also impact property tax bills. The five municipalities with the highest average property tax bills for a single family home in 2020 […]

Employment trends in the Greater Boston Area and Touristy Massachusetts Counties during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Using MassEconomix, Pioneer Institute’s database on employment and the economy, county-level business concentration and employment trends can be observed. Thousands of Americans lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only was this drop in employment apparent in the Boston area, but also in less densely populated Massachusetts counties. Those reliant on tourism also lost jobs.   Table 1 shows the total number of people employed in the Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Barnstable, and Berkshire counties over the past three years. In general, every county had an increase in its employee count from 2018 to 2019 but then a severe decrease from 2019 to 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Table 1 https://masseconomix.org/geography/filter-county   Figure 1 https://masseconomix.org/geography/filter-county   While counties […]

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 […]

Patterns Among Cape Cod Communities with a High Proportion of Private School Students

In Massachusetts, the association between education and demographic factors such as socioeconomic status can be elucidated by examining the New England City and Town Areas (NECTA) data. These data are from Pioneer Institute’s education data on MassAnalysis, part of the Institute’s MassWatch database.    For social, economic, and geographical reasons, certain NECTAs may have higher or lower rates of literacy, education, and public-school students. In the Barnstable, or Cape Cod NECTA, trends among communities with a high proportion of private, homeschooled, or parochial students can be observed.   Table 1 http://massanalysis.com/municipality/   The data reveal that Cape Cod appears to have a significant proportion of students who do not attend public schools, compared to other NECTAs in Massachusetts. The statewide […]

A Closer Look at the Healthcare and Social Assistance Industry in Massachusetts

From 2001 to 2019, far more employees worked in healthcare and social assistance than in any other industry in Massachusetts, and the trend suggests this field may still be growing. According to Pioneer Institute’s MassEconomix tool, the number of employees in this industry has been generally increasing across the state. This sector includes hospitals, physicians’ practices, medical laboratories, youth and family services, and nursing homes. In 2001, there were 427,525 healthcare and social assistance workers. By 2019, the number reached 658,070, a 53.93% increase.  This correlates with the growing number of healthcare and social assistance organizations. In 2001, there were 6.30 facilities per 1,000 people. By 2019, this number had almost doubled to 12.14 facilities per 1,000 people, creating more […]

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 […]

Why did some nursing homes experience more COVID-19 deaths and infections than others?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great loss for Massachusetts and people across the country. It has been especially deadly and problematic in nursing homes, due to the age of their residents, variability in COVID-19 protocols, and underlying health conditions of elderly patients. When the virus first hit Greater Boston, it was soon apparent that older populations were at higher risk both of contracting the disease and experiencing severe symptoms. To remedy this, some nursing homes and care facilities took precautions and stringent measures to contain the virus and prevent its spread to the extent possible.      COVID long-term care facility tracker. Working with the available data from The Pioneer Institute’s COVID long-term care facility tracker, we can observe trends […]

Ely Kaplansky Goes from Immigrant to Inc. 5000 Insurance Entrepreneur

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Ely Kaplansky, President & CEO of Kaplansky Insurance. Since 1974, Ely has created hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts and beyond, with 85 employees in 15 offices across the state today, and he has grown his business during the pandemic, such that Kaplansky Insurance was named to Inc. magazine’s “5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America” list. His success fulfilled the dreams of his parents when they moved from Israel to America in 1955, with just the clothes on their backs and an aunt to take them in. Their journey began in the concentration camps of Germany, and Ely’s story is all about the opportunity and freedom America offers.