THE PIONEER BLOG

Public Statement: Extend Massachusetts’ Income Tax Filing Deadline

Massachusetts must extend the tax filing deadline, just as the federal government and 34 of the 41 states that tax income have done.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Why the divergent fatality rates?, Time for Telehealth, Missing the Greatest Generation, Senator profiting from COVID-19 & more!

Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email:  pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org. Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News: Jim Stergios, Executive Director: This is a really thoughtful, data-driven look at the divergent fatality rates observed around the world, with focus on two western countries (Italy and Germany) and one Asian country (South Korea). The ability of South Korea to drive up testing across all of its populations has been critical in its thus-far successful strategy to turn back the tide on the virus. William Smith, […]

Financial Disclosures – As Important Now as Ever

News sources report that certain senators sold stocks just before the market crashed when the economic impact of Coronavirus came to light. Now more than ever, financial disclosures must be accessible to the media and to the public.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Tracking COVID-19 in MA, unemployment tsunami, cancel MCAS?, cell phone hygiene, salute to James Taylor, state tax filing & more!

Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

7 Tools to Keep Your Child Engaged in Math During COVID-19

Proven resources that every parent can and should make use of now and well beyond COVID-19.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: How some countries are succeeding, Tips for maintenance staff safety, Shelter in place?, Equity in remote learning policies

Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders.

COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: COVID-19 treatments on the way?, a COVID-19 Manhattan Project, best practices at Best Buy, “Expert Mercy,” a shout-out to a local high school, & more!

Pioneer Institute’s Top Picks for COVID-19 news, resources, best practices & more!

Sunshine Week 2020 – When Government Transparency Is More Important Than Ever

COVID-19 has overshadowed what was supposed to be Sunshine Week, but vigilance on behalf of open government is even more crucial during times like these, when the public has limited access. But government transparency is important at all times. Each year during Sunshine Week, Pioneer reviews some of its recent work to increase public accountability in Massachusetts government.

5 Book Series Parents Can Explore During COVID-19 School Closings

Looking for quality literature and books to share with your children while we’re all at home for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19? Here are some excellent options that will nurture a love for great classic literature and enduring historical figures:

Accountability for casino revenue targets needs to be “in the cards”

Co-authored by Andrew Mikula and Greg Sullivan Everett’s Encore Boston Harbor has entered its third quarter of business with two pieces of good news. First, there has been renewed interest in the construction of a footbridge connecting the Orange Line to the shimmering resort casino, a major step towards improving accessibility and reducing traffic congestion in the vicinity. Second, USA Today named Encore as one of the best casinos outside of Las Vegas.   But there is also some bad news. The most recent Massachusetts Gaming Commission revenue report indicates that state revenue from Encore Boston Harbor will fall far short of the $201 million that the casino owner projected for fiscal year 2020 when it was vying for a […]

MBTA must get “on board” with commuter rail accessibility upgrades

If you regularly ride the MBTA commuter rail, you’ve probably experienced a number of delays, patchy service, limited parking, overcrowding, and outdated equipment. But some would-be riders have significant difficulty boarding the train in the first place at most stations – namely, the elderly, disabled, and otherwise mobility-impaired individuals.    The problem is that many of the system’s 143 station stops were designed in the 19th century, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated accommodating people in wheelchairs. As a result, a 2018 MBTA report listed a paltry 36 percent of commuter rail stations as “fully handicapped accessible” and 24 percent of the stations as requiring riders to climb stairs to board a train. Another 40 percent are “partially […]

MassDOT’s West Station design plans fall one track short

In 2014, MassDOT proposed the construction of West Station, a new transit hub in Allston-Brighton that would significantly improve the connectivity of Boston’s western suburbs with Cambridge and North Station. Using an old freight corridor called the Grand Junction Railroad, the project initially seemed like a neat work-around to the inevitably exorbitant costs and disruptiveness of the North-South Rail Link, at least for Framingham/Worcester Line users. Unfortunately, MassDOT’s recent designs for the station will potentially limit accessibility to new destinations and old ones alike.    Instead of a four-track ideal that would accommodate both inbound and outbound travel on each branch, MassDOT wants to limit local Framingham/Worcester Line trips to a single track to accommodate two express trains that existing […]

Open Letter to MA Governor Charlie Baker Regarding Boston Commuters from Points West

In an Open Letter to the Massachusetts Governor, Pioneer Institutes presents its concerns about the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, and its impact on those who will be most affected during the project’s construction

In the past few years, the tobacco industry has thrived in Massachusetts. Here’s why.

Despite recent good news about declines in alcohol, traditional cigarette, and hard drug use among young people, it seems that retailers of these heavily regulated (or just plain illegal) substances aren’t going away any time soon. The number of Massachusetts bars and nightclubs – or, in the words of the Census Bureau, “places primarily engaged in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption” – has wavered between about 700 and 800 since the late 1990s in a pattern that, amusingly (and probably coincidentally), seems countercyclical (see Figure 1).    Figure 1:  Source: Your-economy Time Series   However, more concerning than the trend in drinking establishments is the trend in tobacco stores, defined as “establishments primarily engaged in retailing cigarettes, cigars, […]

Pioneer Institute’s Government Transparency Resolutions 2020

As we do each January, Pioneer shares the resolutions it hopes state leaders will adopt to bring government actions into better focus and invigorate our democracy with heightened public engagement.