Middlemen Pushing Up Retail Costs of Drugs

The reality is that non-price factors, including several players, are causing net prices to decline and retail prices to increase. Those players include employers, health plans, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), all of whom have continuously circumvented the system through loopholes and complicated systems of reimbursement that tend to hurt patients

Milton Shuts the Door
on Multifamily Housing Plans

The MBTA Communities Act, passed in 2021, provides that the 177 communities serviced by the MBTA must create multifamily zones to spur housing development close to public transportation. But the issue is an emotionally charged one, with passions high on both sides. And Milton residents in February rejected a plan to create such housing ‚ choosing a loss of some state funding over an approximately 25 percent increase in their housing stock, along with the possibility of greater congestion.

State Overtime Expenditures Jump, Even as Employment Increases

A new analysis of state payroll expenditures reveals a sizable increase in overtime expenditures, even as the state has added nearly 3,000 new employees since the beginning of the pandemic.

‘High’ U.S. Drug Prices Mask Freeloading by Other Nations

The drug company’s choice is to walk away from millions in revenue from a given country and deny their people a lifesaving drug, or swallow hard and accept an unfair price that is nowhere near the drug’s value. For the sake of shareholders and patients, drug companies typically accept the unfair price and devote the revenue to offsetting their previous investments. In short, other nations are freeloading off of American R&D.

My Musings on Massachusetts’ Fiscal Picture

Since the start of FY2024 on July 1, 2023, the state has experienced six straight months of revenues falling short of expectations. The single biggest factor is the unprecedented growth of the state budget since FY2021. The $15 billion increase in state spending contextualizes the seemingly modest projected revenue growth of 1.6 percent for FY2024 by highlighting that the base is very inflated.

Studying the Humanities in the 2020s

At a time of tumultuous and sometimes vitriolic debates on American campuses, here are seven guiding principles to help college student thinking about studying history or any other humanities subject.

Better Civics Education Is the Massachusetts Way

The fight for more comprehensive civics education in the Bay State has persisted for years. The Legislature's recent override of Gov. Maura Healey’s cut to the state’s modest civics instruction budget suggests that in many in Massachusetts — including parents, teachers, and lawmakers — support strengthening the state’s civics and history curriculum, particularly with mounting evidence of declined student performance across the country.

Except in Florida, There’s Really No (High School) Debate

In much of the country, the state of America’s High school debate is not strong. Teachers and education professionals have become indoctrinated in an identity-obsessed, grievance-seeking body politic. But in Florida, students must thoroughly research debatable positions and are actually expected to engage with those who disagree.

The Disconnect Between Education and Activism

I’m sympathetic when I hear individuals lament cancel culture, radicalized student bodies, and anti-free speech climates in our institutions of higher learning. In many ways, it's right to do so. But in our defense, I might suggest that our lack of aptitude is the result of increasingly substandard history and civics education.

Why Study History?

Intern Jude Iredell emphasizes the importance of history education for informed citizenship, citing Pioneer's survey on Massachusetts residents' historical knowledge. He encourages supporting organizations and initiatives promoting civic engagement and history literacy.

University Science Research Is Under Threat

The Biden administration's formation of a working group to “develop a framework for the implementation of the march-in provision of the Bayh-Dole Act" could have serious adverse consequences for university research and biopharmaceutical innovation. It represents a particularly dangerous threat to the thriving life sciences cluster in Greater Boston.
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Massachusetts Split Property Tax Rates – Considerations for the Current Economic Climate

Many taxing jurisdictions distinguish among the various property types and treat them differently. Common property classifications include: residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural. A majority of states, some 60 percent, use some kind of classification, but those classifications vary in scope and effective tax burden (i.e., the actual amount of tax paid after credits, deductions and other changes are taken into account.) Classifications are also operationalized differently among states. Some use a set rate for different types of properties and others use a ratio of assessment and market values.

Lousy Healthcare for Thee but Not for Me

In recent years, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have instituted programs to keep out-of-pocket drug costs high for patients. Why is the administration so eager to protect federal employees from high out-of-pocket costs but is perfectly happy for PBMs to enroll millions of other patients in these programs?

History Class: A New Culture War Front

Progressives and conservatives have sponsored politically influenced alterations to history curricula across the country. Recovering trust in history education is an imperative, and teachers and educators can help by making students aware that the facts of history are themselves political, constantly manipulated to advance parties’ and politicians’ own interests. Curricular standards that offer this guidance would weaken biased assaults from either ideological side.

The Rise of the Grievance Essay?

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that racial discrimination in college admissions is unconstitutional, Harvard and other elite colleges and universities have adopted new essay prompts that openly invite applicants to air identity-based grievances in hopes of aiding their admissions chances.

A History of Massachusetts’ Peculiar Beach Access Laws

Massachusetts rivals Maine for the lowest percentage of publicly owned and accessible coastal land. What seems a geographic coincidence is actually the product of contentious property rights disputes going back nearly 400 years, to the days of Puritan law.

Harsh Tax Policies in NY Make MA Seem Palatable as Some Residents Look to Relocate

While many Massachusetts residents relocated to either New Hampshire or Florida in 2021, a considerable amount of New Yorkers migrated into Massachusetts. Their motivation to relocate seems largely tied to the harsh taxes in New York, which surpass the rates in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts’ “Stinger” Tax, Explained

Massachusetts recognizes S Corporations as flow-through entities. However, it levies an additional "stinger" tax on shareholders of these types of entities, depending on their revenue and industry. The state should reform S Corporation tax policy because the current system is uncompetitive and nonneutral. And, in addition to the new surtax on earnings over $1 million, the stinger tax could make business owners consider relocating, which would take revenue and surtax from the state.

Changes to the Confounding Massachusetts Estate Tax

Policymakers on Beacon Hill have many visions of tax relief for this fiscal year, and all of them include changing the estate taxes. What are those changes, and what would their impact be?

University Presidents Salary Comparison, Pt. 2

See how Massachusetts state schools' presidential salaries match up. Presidents with schools who have less than a 1,000 student enrollment are near the top of the list.

The War on Math in Boston-Area School Boards

Despite long-standing bipartisan agreement that all students need and deserve challenging curricula for educational success, many Boston-area school boards are dismantling advanced math programs in the name of equity and inclusion; such moves only exacerbate educational disparities while ignoring the persisting achievement gaps across racial demographics.

An Examination of the Commonwealth Rainy Day Fund

Established in 1987, the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund has been a key component of the financial stability of Massachusetts. As of recently, it's seen spectacular growth. Why?

University Presidents Salary Comparison, Pt. 1

See how much each president of a New England public university makes.

U.S. History and Civics Education: Lacking Standards, Little Knowledge

According to both the NAEP U.S. history and civics test results and a national survey emulating a U.S. citizenship test, students and citizens in America are largely lacking the mastery of the subjects. At a time when history and civics education is highly politicized, we must improve their education to ensure future generations of capable citizens.

GDP by Industry: Middlesex County v. Suffolk County

Middlesex and Suffolk counties have contributed far more to the state's GDP than any other county in Massachusetts. However, the two differ in which industries are responsible for the greatest shares of their GDP.

The Curious Case of the Missing Stabilization Funds

Stabilization funds are a key component of a municipality's financial strength, yet many towns (including Boston!) report no stabilization funds. Why is this?

HDIP: Unintended Consequences Adding to the Housing Crisis

See how the HDIP affected the state's housing crisis. Housing prices in Gateway Cities, such as Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Lawrence, are skyrocketing.

Large Free Cash Fund in Woburn Demonstrates Quality Financial Management

Woburn has consistently had quality financial management in recent years, demonstrated by the fact that the city had the third highest free cash fund in the state in 2020. The city’s financial success has benefited its taxpayers, as the city’s bond rating has been promoted to a AAA rating by the S&P agency standards.

Can Massachusetts Reverse the Decline in U.S. History and Civics Performance?

Massachusetts — home to so much history, including seminal events such as the Boston Tea Party — has much to be proud of in its own students’ history and civics performance. Even as policymakers have supplanted typical curricular standards with “engagement” mandates that students participate in progressive activism, national attitudes towards Massachusetts’ civic education have remained envious.

Cheap, Efficient, Effective: The Lessons from the PVTA and WRTA

The MBTA is recognized as one of the best transit systems in the nation. It's not perfect, however: comparisons to other Massachusetts transit systems can indicate the MBTA's flaws and highlight the regional authorities' strengths.