THE PIONEER BLOG

The Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries Part 2: A Deeper Look

Part 1 of this blog series on MA state colleges and universities addressed presidents’ salaries since 2010. In general, although public funding for MA higher education institutions—specifically the state college and non-UMass university system—is decreasing, university presidents received annual raises, and sometimes very large raises and expensive buyouts. The picture is a bit murky, though, […]

The Internet Sales Tax: Gone But Will It Be Back?

On June 30th, two days before it was scheduled to go into effect, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) pulled a directive that would tax online retailers without a physical presence in the state. Under the directive, any company that has over 100 transactions and at least $500,000 in sales in the state in the […]

Welcome to the Crazy World of College Presidential Salaries – Part 1

In a world of skyrocketing college tuition and student debt, the issue of college administration costs has become highly visible—and infuriating—for those footing the college bills. A large part of a higher education institution’s administrative costs come from salaries, including pay for presidents, executive boards, deans, and provosts. But these positions also sometimes come with […]

The Downgrade: Perhaps A Yawn But We’re Not Alone

Since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, economic indicators have been largely positive. The U.S. GDP in 2015 reached $16.3 trillion, finally surpassing the $16 trillion before the recession. U.S. unemployment has fallen to 4.3%, down from 10% at  the height of the recession. Yet despite the recent growth, 13 states including Massachusetts […]

“A Source of Wonderful Ideas and Terrific Innovation”

“…yet another idea that came out of the Better Government Competition, in real-time, delivered by Pioneer Institute to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…This organization, this event, for years and years and years has been a source of wonderful ideas and terrific innovation, and I want to, on behalf of the Commonwealth, thank you for your leadership […]

Understanding the Downgrade

S&P Global Ratings (S&P) recently downgraded Commonwealth and certain other Massachusetts agency bond ratings one notch from AA+ to AA. The AA rating is still considered a high mark in terms of the investment grade of the bonds, meaning S&P believes the state will meet its debt obligations.  While it is fair to say that […]

Aging, Technology Take Center Stage at 2017 Better Government Awards Gala

Last night, on an inspiring evening, against the backdrop of the beautiful Sail Boston parade of tall ships, Pioneer Institute held its annual Better Government Awards Gala. Longtime supporters and new friends gathered at the Boston Harbor Hotel to celebrate the country’s most innovative ideas to improve care for the aging, and leverage their skills in new […]

Community College Presidential Pay Raises Not Necessarily Based on Merit

Last year saw some of the highest recorded salaries for presidents of Massachusetts community colleges. The presidents of Greenfield, Bristol, Massasoit, Quinsigamond, and Mt Wachusett Community Colleges receive the highest, with annual earnings in the mid-$200,000 range.  These salaries are the result of rapid growth in the last five-to-six years. Compensation is generally based on […]

Spending on Students: How Does Groton Compare?

Massachusetts is known for the strength of its K-12 education.  US News & World Report recently ranked the commonwealth’s public-school districts.  Having grown up in Groton, I wanted to see the correlation between educational expenditures and school district performance in the town. How does Groton’s education spending compare to Massachusetts towns with similar demographics? How […]

How You Can Audit Massachusetts’ Pension Boards

Just recently Kathy Curran led an investigation into Massachusetts retirement boards’ wasteful use of public funds. Her investigative team found that while nearly all public retirement boards in Massachusetts are not on track to be fully funded for at least another decade, numerous boards have been treating themselves to expensive dinners, five-star hotel visits, and other […]

Closing Catholic Schools in Massachusetts Can Be Avoided

The Archdiocese of Boston recently announced that after operating for 93 years, the Saint Clement School in Medford will be closing its doors at the end of this school year due to a persistent decline in enrollment.  That means a multitude of students who believed they would be following the thousands before them as Saint […]

Groton’s Tax Base Dilemma

Among 15 peer municipalities, Groton’s commercial tax yield makes up a relatively small percentage of its total tax revenue and general government expenditures. In Groton and similar towns, how does developing a commercial tax base fare in terms of supporting local expenditures and moderating residential and personal property taxes?             MassAnalysis.com provides town-by-town data on […]

MA Colleges Spend Tens of Thousands in Taxpayer Money on Celebrity Commencement Speakers

Graduation season is in full swing, and as a hotbed of higher education, Greater Boston sees hundreds of thousands of students matriculate each spring. These festivities bring visiting parents, landscaped campuses, and, of course, commencement speakers. Celebrity speakers have long been a high-point at commencement ceremonies. Each year, politicians, academics, actors, musicians and CEOs get […]

Celebrating National Charter Public Schools Week

Great charter public schools are about great leadership. Charters in Massachusetts are the best in the country at bridging achievement gaps for our neediest students. They were authorized through the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, authored by Bay State leaders like Governor William Weld, Senate President Tom Birmingham, and Representative Mark Roosevelt. They believe that […]