THE PIONEER BLOG

Got Milk? The Answer Might Soon Be No in Massachusetts

It’s not a good time to be a dairy farmer in Massachusetts, and it hasn’t been for years. As of 2016, 90 percent of the Commonwealth’s dairy farmers reported enrollment in federal aid programs. Their economic situation became especially critical in 2009, when the recession pushed milk prices to record lows, and farmers sold their […]

A Public Transit that Neglects Its Public

Two of a community’s most important hubs are its colleges and hospitals. Higher education keeps a population vibrant and upwardly mobile, while access to health care keeps them well. Pioneer Institute’s municipal website, MassAnalysis, classifies Lowell, Lawrence and New Bedford as peers based on population density and size.  For these cities, each with over 20 […]

Cape Cod’s Battle Against the Opioid Epidemic

In recent years, opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts have increased much faster than the national average. While steps are being taken to combat the problem, the crisis has challenged all the Commonwealth’s communities. Cape Cod has especially struggled. Of Massachusetts’ 14 counties, Barnstable had the fourth highest opioid overdose death rate of 31.39 per 100,000 people […]

Falsified Records & Shady Human Resources Policies: The Latest Scandal in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Office of the Medical Examiner for Massachusetts is a taxpayer-funded agency that employs 93 people and is responsible for investigating violent and unexplained deaths in Massachusetts. Last year, Dr. Mindy J. Hull was chosen to lead the agency as chief medical examiner, a position with a salary that was recently increased by nearly $100,000 […]

School Choice Booming on Cape Cod

Each year, millions of dollars flow from one school system to another thanks to a 1991 Massachusetts law that created inter-district school choice, which offers parents the option of enrolling their children in the public-school district of a community other than their hometown. While the law allows each district to decide whether to accept out-of-district […]

Top Methuen Police Officials Poised to Earn Far More than State Police (even including the State Police Overtime)

The city of Methuen is currently facing a budget crisis primarily due to school system debt and newly negotiated police contracts.   Top police officials are poised to be the highest-paid officers in the state. According to the Boston Globe, a new contract will result in five Methuen police captains making an average of $432,295 […]

Should Boston want to be the home of Amazon’s second headquarters?

Amazon is the kind of company whose mere presence is enough to transform a city. Billions of dollars in investment, tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, and a major impact on transportation and land use have characterized Amazon’s relationship with its primary home of Seattle. As the company continues to grow, its process to determine […]

Is local government in Massachusetts too pervasive?

In a country as culturally and politically diverse as the United States, vastly different political systems have come to serve local populations in various states. Certain regions of the nation have far-reaching and invasive local government systems, while others have large swaths of the population that don’t have any sub-county government at all. A typical […]

Troop F Gets an A: State Auditor Overlooks DSP Corruption, Neglects Audits

The Office of the State Auditor’s (OSA’s) website describes our current auditor, Suzanne Bump, as “the chief accountability officer for state government in Massachusetts and its residents.” The OSA’s enabling statute requires the department to audit all 700 departments and organizations of the government at least once every three years. Yet in her seven years […]

Disappointing Decision Regarding High-Achieving Cape Cod Charter School

In 2004 the Barnstable County Horace Mann Charter School was founded to “Engage, educate, and challenge a diverse K-3 population to achieve the highest level of academic excellence.” The school has its own nine-member board of trustees, principal, and staff that under the Horace Mann format are given greater control over budgetary and teaching decisions […]

Parking Fine Hikes in Boston: a step in Go Boston 2030’s Larger Plan

On July 2, 2018, parking ticket fines in Boston increased substantially. In an attempt to decrease congestion and increase efficiency, the City of Boston hiked the fines for the first time in 10 years. According to the City of Boston’s website, the increased fines represent those violations that: most negatively impact residents, are most frequently […]

Proportional Parking Fees: The MBTA Listens to Pioneer’s Recommendations

The Pioneer Institute has produced extensive research on the MBTA. Not only has it provided analysis and criticism, but various remedies to policy. In particular, Pioneer’s research has gained notoriety and resulted in a policy change. One issue that recently influenced MBTA policy was Pioneer’s research on the lack of available parking spaces at highly […]

Investing in commercial development may ease fiscal woes without affecting crime

Bedford, Massachusetts is a suburban town of about 14,000 in the heart of Middlesex County. Its Wikipedia page boasts a charming picture of a historic train depot engulfed in fiery fall foliage. Driving through Bedford at night, you would hardly notice the slew of tech companies and manufacturing operations tucked into a corner of the […]