THE PIONEER BLOG

UMass Football Coach is the 7th Highest Paid Employee in the State

Football fans across the country wait in anticipation for the start of the 2022 season which is right around the corner. The UMass Minutemen’s first game is on September 3rd against Tulane University. The Minutemen are a part of the NCAA Division I Independent Schools, but a fact college football fans may not know is the salary of head coaches.    From 2018 to 2021, the head coach of the Minutemen was Walter Bell, who according to Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks, had a salary of $652,866 making him the seventh highest paid employee in the University of Massachusetts system in 2021. Bell was also the seventh highest paid employee at UMass in 2020 with a salary of $618,683, and in 2019 […]

New Report: Massachusetts Maintains Reasonable Debt Relative to GSP

Massachusetts has more debt than any New England state. Can we afford to pay it off or will we hand it down to future generations?

New Hampshire Tax Burden Dramatically Less than Massachusetts

New Hampshire collects less than half the amount of taxes per capita as Massachusetts. How do they do it, and which strategy produces better outcomes?

The Green Line Extension Project Progress and Finances

Earlier this month, a Boston Globe article informed Boston residents that they may have to wait another four months before the rest of MBTA’s 4.7-mile Green Line Extension connecting Lechmere to Medford and Somerville is complete. The new extension was originally supposed to open last December. The date was moved to May, and it’s now expected to open in late summer, according to an MBTA spokesperson.    The Green Line extension past Lechmere was originally promised during the Big Dig in 1990, but was later put on hold due to going over budget. In 2007, the state began planning the extension again and in 2013 awarded a contract to White-Kiewit-Skanska to begin construction. In the best Big Dig tradition, the […]

Healthcare dominates the job market.

Healthcare and social assistance are among the most important services; but did you know the category is also one of the fastest growing?  Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of workers in this important industry. According to Masseconomix, the sector grew by 34 percent since 2004 in Massachusetts.  So what are the counties that are seeing the most and least growth in this sector? Figure 1: Sector Growth 2004 and 2020   As shown in Figure 1, the healthcare and social assistance sector was the commonwealth’s leading employer in 2004, and the trend has since accelerated. In 2004 the sector employed 538,081, and it rose to 722,988 in 2020, a near 35 percent increase. For perspective, healthcare and social assistance […]

Looming Budget Crisis Reveals MBTA’s Dependency on Federal Funds

The MBTA is about to lose federal funding at a critical moment when ridership has not yet recovered. Will the state make up the difference?

High School Education in Brighton, MA

In 2010, Brighton High School in Boston had an enrollment of 1,208 students, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. That year, the school’s graduation rate was 57.1 percent of the 224 students in the senior class according to Pioneer Institute’s MassReportCards graduation rate statistics. Five years later in 2015, Brighton High School had 974 total students enrolled with a 61.1 percent graduation rate. In 2020, they had 535 students enrolled with a 54.7 percent graduation rate and the most recent year on record, 2021, Brighton HS had 402 students enrolled with a 68.2 percent graduation rate. Overall, Brighton High School’s enrollment has been dropping in the past decade, but their graduation rates have been increasing, which […]

Emigration from Massachusetts is at a Decade High, Despite Booming Economy and High Standard of Living

The economy is doing great, so why are people leaving Massachusetts?

AEI’s Robert Pondiscio on E.D. Hirsch, Civic Education, & Charter Public Schools

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He shares his background working with curriculum expert E.D. Hirsch, Jr., who has emphasized the importance of academic content knowledge in K-12 education as well as civic education to develop active participants in our democracy. Pondiscio explains some of the findings of his book, How the Other Half Learns, on New York’s Success Academy charter schools network.

Apple store in Boston

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services on the Rise in Suffolk County, MA

  Suffolk County, Massachusetts consists of the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere. According to the Pioneer Institute’s MassEconomix website, 644,363 people were employed in Suffolk County in 2020. So which industry is the county’s biggest employer?    Since 2004, the first year in the MassEconomix database, the largest industry sector in Suffolk County has been healthcare and social assistance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the healthcare and social assistance industry sector as trained professionals who work in “establishments providing medical care exclusively, continuing with those providing health care and social assistance, and finally finishing with those providing only social assistance.” In 2010, 122,343 employees worked in healthcare and social assistance, comprising a total of  21.4 percent […]

Hubwonk360 Video: If we tax them, will they leave?

In this brief, six-minute video, Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios and Director of Government Transparency, Mary Z. Connaughton, walk through an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that could dramatically increase the income tax on retirees and small businesses.

A Decade of Culture and Recreation Spending on Cape Cod

Culture and Recreation are among the most important services needed for the wellbeing of a community. Parks are grounds for socializing, playtime and community events and give residents the opportunity to build community spirit. The same goes for Cape Cod; but towns vary in the extent to which they provide these services. How does Barnstable County stack up?   Source: Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis website   As shown in the chart above, the towns with the highest per capita Culture and Recreation expenses were Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich at $405, $387, $379, $284, and $254, respectively. Barnstable and Falmouth spent the most in the aggregate, despite having some of the lowest expenditures on a per capita basis. Spending on […]

A Decade of Police Spending on Cape Cod

Police spending is often the subject of debate in town halls across the country. The implications of the funding or lack thereof can be significant to the safety of the communities impacted. In Barnstable County, police expenses make up a significant component of overall town spending, but what Cape Cod towns invest the most in this vital service? As indicated in the chart below, the towns with the highest per capita police spending were Truro at $852 followed by Provincetown and Wellfleet, at $792 and $556, respectively. The town with the lowest per capita police spending was Falmouth at $203.   Source: Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis website   In 2020, police spending in Truro represented 11.3 percent of its total expenditures, […]

Barnstable County: What Towns Tax the Most?

The housing market has been the center of American economic growth and decline for decades. Many potential home buyers consider residential property taxation and single-family tax bills in choosing a community. As such, property taxes can impact regional housing markets, as people consider whether those markets are affordable. One super-hot real estate market right now is Barnstable County, Massachusetts, which makes up most of Cape Cod.    So what do tax rates look like on the Cape? per $1,000 in assessed valued.   According to the graph above, the tax rates per $1,000 in assessed value for the majority of municipalities within Barnstable county are far below the statewide average of $14.92, with the town of Sandwich as the only […]

As States Compete for Talent and Families, Massachusetts Experienced a Six-Fold Increase in Lost Wealth Compared to a Decade Earlier

With competition for businesses and talent heating up across the country, in 2020 Massachusetts shed taxpayers and wealth at a clip six times faster than even just a decade ago. Between 2010 to 2020, Massachusetts’ net loss of adjusted gross Income (AGI) to other states due to migration grew from $422 million to $2.6 billion, according to recently released IRS data now available on Pioneer Institute’s Massachusetts IRS Data Discovery website. Over 71 percent of the loss was to Florida and New Hampshire, both no income tax states.