Education spending influences demographic trends at even the smallest scale

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has a habit of solving identity crises for Massachusetts towns. Operating chiefly in Greater Boston, the MAPC uses 5 broad “community types” (and 9 subtypes) to classify municipalities statewide based on criteria such as housing density, proximity to Boston, historical character, and capacity to develop further.   All of this […]

Income and Education Levels in Gateway Cities Well Below State Average as Debate over Chapter 70 Aid Formula Heats Up

Data from Pioneer’s online transparency toolset,, shows that the Gateway Cities have some of the lowest per-capita incomes in the Commonwealth, according to the most recent data from 2017. Education and income levels are intrinsically tied, and not surprisingly, high school graduation rates in the Gateway Cities lag well behind the rest of the […]

2,098 Mass. VA Employees Made $100,000 or More in 2017

According to the online transparency tool OpentheBooks, there were 7,816 Department of Veterans Affairs employees in Massachusetts in 2017. Remarkably, 2,098 of these, made six-figure incomes. Fifty-one administrators and doctors made more than $300,000 and 364 made more than $200,000. Salaries may be sky high, but there have been many complaints about the quality of […]

Can Cape Cod’s economy rely on tourism forever?

Cape Cod’s character has long been dependent on the season. As the leaves change colors in October and November, bustling summer colonies quickly transform into sleepy New England towns. This dichotomy has heightened in recent decades, and depopulation in the region has raised concerns about the economic sustainability of the Cape and the well-being of […]

How does the Commonwealth Pay for Roads?

Maintaining, safe, efficient public infrastructure challenges local, state and federal governments alike. Communities need to build new core public assets to support growing populations while maintaining those that are aging. Accomplishing those goals eats into local public works budgets. The Commonwealth provides funding to localities which help alleviate the burden cities and towns face. Routinely, […]

Andover’s OPEB Lawsuit could have Implications for Towns Across the State

The Town of Andover has taken significant steps to decrease its future financial obligations. Like other towns across the Commonwealth, Andover faces a number of financial pressures, including the impact of municipal employee retirement obligations. Unlike many towns, Andover has made the tough decisions necessary to reduce the amount it […]

What can be learned from the Commonwealth’s new 9-1-1 system?

The State 9-1-1 Department recently finished building an enhanced 9-1-1 system that migrates state 9-1-1 call centers to the new Next Generation system, which features many improvements. For instance, the Next Generation 9-1-1 system lets people send more information to 9-1-1 operators, including GPS location data. This is a great leap forward for public safety […]

Gateway Cities Face Educational Spending Challenges

As the Boston Globe recently reported, Gateway Cities Brockton and Worcester are mulling a lawsuit against the Commonwealth. They cite the methodology the state uses to address funding aid inequity for public schools in poorer municipalities as insufficient to meet their students’ needs. The article also demonstrated the wide gap between public school resources available […]

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s end bigoted laws that block school choice

This St. Patrick’s Day, join us in calling for an end to bigoted, 19th-century anti-Irish and anti-Catholic legal barriers that block access to better schools for hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children. “Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams: Ending America’s Bigoted Education Laws,” a Pioneer Institute documentary production, seeks to raise public awareness about these constitutional amendments […]

New entry deadline: March 30th! Enter the 2018 Better Government Competition: “Making Higher Education & Career Training Options Affordable & Effective”

Each year, the Better Government Competition focuses on one of the country’s greatest public policy challenges. Families today are struggling to afford college, young adults are saddled with crippling debt, and government workforce development programs and existing education models have not been reliable pipelines to stable employment. In recognition of these challenges, Pioneer Institute’s 2018 […]

Which Cape Cod Town has the Best Summertime Revenue Take?

The towns of the Cape and Islands have economies built around summer tourism. The allure of vast shorelines and beautiful public beaches swell the population in the warmer months; the result – beach sticker fee income abounds. Whether it’s from beach revenue, greens fees or shellfish permits, the seasonal revenue means fewer property taxes are […]

Public Works Expenditures Across All 26 Gateway Cities

Using, a free government transparency tool provided by Pioneer Institute, with a few clicks, a report was generated to compare 2016 public works expenditures across all 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts. The results are demonstrated in the chart below: The findings were unexpected. Peabody is the 15th largest city, but had both the highest […]

What Janus Means for Massachusetts

In downtown Boston Monday there was a rally of a few hundred public union members, with a speaker roster that included U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, among many other elected officials.  The reason was that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was hearing oral arguments on the Janus v. AFSCME case. The plaintiff in the case, […]

Celebrating Black History Month

In the month of February, the nation honors the achievements of African Americans; their stories and historical accomplishments are worthy of recognition year round. That’s why Pioneer Institute has sponsored events, produced videos, and published opinion pieces informing the public about important leaders and key milestones in the African-American experience, as well as the need […]