THE PIONEER BLOG

Massachusetts Needs a Comprehensive Performance Management Framework

Massachusetts tried making a performance structure, but in 2014 it was discontinued. Today, the state lacks a comprehensive structure to track progress.

The Realities Behind US Healthcare Spending

Healthcare policy is an all-encompassing term. It plays a role in every individual’s life; how it is curated, developed, and maintained has a significant long-term impact on the quality of life of any given community. It is critical that policymakers consistently adapt and amend healthcare policies in the ever-changing global pricing and affordability environment while providing funding support for optimal quality of care.

Cures for Patients, Not Health Plan Profits, Make Drugs Valuable

To the astonishment of many observers, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recently concluded that a $2.1 million gene therapy for a life-threatening blood disorder called beta thalassemia, is priced cost-effectively. The surprise was especially pleasant, given that ICER’s methodology had, in the past, displayed bias against rare disease treatments and undervalued the lives of people living with disabilities.

School-Age Population Remains Steady, but Boston Struggles With Declining Enrollment

Hopefully, new leadership will ensure that the system makes the changes necessary to improve public education in Boston. Otherwise, enrollment declines will continue. 

Is a Universal Basic Income the future? You decide.

  With the cost of living on the rise, inflation eating away at the average American’s paycheck, and an economy that’s generated fierce debates about inequality and poverty, many have called for systemic reforms and even more radical  changes.  Some have embraced what’s called a universal basic income; others not so much. So what is UBI? How does it work in practice? What do the researchers think of it?  Here’s the general overview.  What’s the purpose? First proposed by Thomas Spence in the 18th century, UBI is a redistribution program in which all adults receive a regularly occurring stipend; think of an earned income credit for everybody. The concept drew attention in England during the 1920s, resurfaced in Western Europe […]

After 7 years, Massachusetts is still one of the least financially transparent states

In 48 states, elected officials are required to submit annual public financial disclosures. Among these states, Pioneer Institute ranks Massachusetts lowest in terms of the transparency of those financial disclosures.  Statements of Financial Interests (SFI’s) are designed to provide government transparency by giving the public some visibility into the financial information of public officials.  They allow voters to see if officials’ actions could be viewed as being in their personal interest rather than the public’s interest.  The SFIs are available to the public for inspection upon request.  Seven years ago, Pioneer identified three problems with the commonwealth’s financial disclosure system in its study Weak and Out of Reach, and recommended ways to improve the disclosures. In the years since, we […]

Where Are Massachusetts Residents Moving To?

A blog published earlier this month by Pioneer shined a light on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ growing dilemma in the past decade: having more people emigrating from the state than migrating into the state.     We know Florida is receiving the most in adjusted gross income (AGI) from residents leaving MA and MA is receiving the most AGI from migrants from New York. But what specific counties are people moving from and moving to? According to Pioneer’s Massachusetts IRA Data Discovery website, the top two counties people emigrated from in 2020 were Middlesex, with 26,920 residents leaving, and Suffolk, which lost 17,208 residents.    The counties that most people moved to in 2020 from MA are Providence County, RI at […]

What’s going on with the economy in Cambridge?

Dubbed the city of squares, Cambridge, a leading innovation center, is home to some of the world’s most recognized technology companies and educational institutions. With an educated population and a knowledge-based economy, a lot has changed and a lot has remained the same for the city in the last decade.   Government revenue According to 2010 estimates, Cambridge reported per capita revenue at $4,030 in 2010. In 2020, that figure was $5,839; a 44.8 percent increase in a decade.  Additionally, the city brought in total revenue of $691,306,502 in 2020; far higher than any city in Middlesex County and third highest in the state.    According to the graphs above, total revenue in Cambridge has seen consistent and significant growth […]

The Second Largest Public Construction Project in MA is to give Logan International Airport a New Look

According to Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks, the two construction companies that have been paid the most by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are first, GLX contractors, which you can learn more about here: https://pioneerinstitute.org/blog/blog-better-government/blog-transparency/the-green-line-extension-project-progress-and-finances/.  Second is Suffolk Construction Contractors. Suffolk is a construction contracting company founded and based in Boston that has a current contract with the Massachusetts Port Authority for the renovation of Boston’s Logan International Airport.    In 2014, Massport began planning renovations for Logan Airport because of increasing passenger demand. More gates are being added to allow more jets. Logan was originally built in 1923, before the wide body jets that Logan now accommodates on a daily basis were invented. Terminal E, which serves international flights, will expand by […]

UMass Football Coach is the 7th Highest Paid Employee in the State

Football fans across the country wait in anticipation for the start of the 2022 season which is right around the corner. The UMass Minutemen’s first game is on September 3rd against Tulane University. The Minutemen are a part of the NCAA Division I Independent Schools, but a fact college football fans may not know is the salary of head coaches.    From 2018 to 2021, the head coach of the Minutemen was Walter Bell, who according to Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks, had a salary of $652,866 making him the seventh highest paid employee in the University of Massachusetts system in 2021. Bell was also the seventh highest paid employee at UMass in 2020 with a salary of $618,683, and in 2019 […]

New Report: Massachusetts Maintains Reasonable Debt Relative to GSP

Massachusetts has more debt than any New England state. Can we afford to pay it off or will we hand it down to future generations?

New Hampshire Tax Burden Dramatically Less than Massachusetts

New Hampshire collects less than half the amount of taxes per capita as Massachusetts. How do they do it, and which strategy produces better outcomes?

The Green Line Extension Project Progress and Finances

Earlier this month, a Boston Globe article informed Boston residents that they may have to wait another four months before the rest of MBTA’s 4.7-mile Green Line Extension connecting Lechmere to Medford and Somerville is complete. The new extension was originally supposed to open last December. The date was moved to May, and it’s now expected to open in late summer, according to an MBTA spokesperson.    The Green Line extension past Lechmere was originally promised during the Big Dig in 1990, but was later put on hold due to going over budget. In 2007, the state began planning the extension again and in 2013 awarded a contract to White-Kiewit-Skanska to begin construction. In the best Big Dig tradition, the […]

Healthcare dominates the job market.

Healthcare and social assistance are among the most important services; but did you know the category is also one of the fastest growing?  Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of workers in this important industry. According to Masseconomix, the sector grew by 34 percent since 2004 in Massachusetts.  So what are the counties that are seeing the most and least growth in this sector? Figure 1: Sector Growth 2004 and 2020   As shown in Figure 1, the healthcare and social assistance sector was the commonwealth’s leading employer in 2004, and the trend has since accelerated. In 2004 the sector employed 538,081, and it rose to 722,988 in 2020, a near 35 percent increase. For perspective, healthcare and social assistance […]

Looming Budget Crisis Reveals MBTA’s Dependency on Federal Funds

The MBTA is about to lose federal funding at a critical moment when ridership has not yet recovered. Will the state make up the difference?