THE PIONEER BLOG

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.

Aurora Institute’s Susan Patrick on Digital Learning Lessons from COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Susan Patrick, the President and CEO of Aurora Institute and co-founder of CompetencyWorks. Susan shares observations about the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for American K-12 education, and the prospects for expanding digital learning.

School Expenditures in the 2019 and 2020 School Years

The Massachusetts K-12 school system has been regarded as the most highly ranked system by the US News & World Report for years. According to Pioneer Institute’s MassReportCards tool, the ways in which Massachusetts schools spend money has been changing in the past few school years. The overall spending in Massachusetts school districts has slightly increased from 2019 to 2020 (Note: the 2019 school year represents the school year from July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019, and the 2020 school year represents the school year from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020). In 2019, districts spent a total of $16,884,101,109 on school expenses, while in 2020, spending amounted to $16,929,248,719, an increase of about 0.26%. (Note: the rate of this increase in […]

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Prof. David Hackett Fischer on Paul Revere, George Washington, & American Independence

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with David Hackett Fischer, University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History Emeritus at Brandeis University, and the author of numerous books, including Paul Revere’s Ride and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington’s Crossing. As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, they review key figures who helped secure independence from Great Britain, including Paul Revere, immortalized in Longfellow’s classic poem, and Founding Father George Washington, known among his contemporaries as the “indispensable man” of the revolutionary cause.

Massachusetts Residents Are Opting to File for Residential Energy Tax Credits

In 2018, 14,230 Massachusetts taxpayers received a total of $65,868,000 in green energy tax credits on their federal returns, but how can more take advantage of this offer?  Pioneer set out to compare data on Residential Energy Credits (RECs) between Massachusetts and its New England neighbors using Pioneer’s Massachusetts IRS Data Discovery site.  RECs are a non-refundable credit recently extended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that reimburses taxpayers up to 26% for costs on new builds or home renovations for tax years 2020 to 2022.  This is less than the 30% rate for 2012-2019, according to previous versions of IRS Form 5695, and the rate will fall again to 22% in 2023.   Part I of REC, the Residential […]