Commentary On The Senate Ways And Means Committee FY2025 Budget 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee (SWM) released its FY2025 budget on May 7th.  This spending plan totals $57.9 billion, an increase of $1.8 billion over the FY2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA).  Like the Governor’s and House’s versions of the budget, the SWM budget is based on the consensus revenue estimate of $41.5 billion in tax revenue - a decrease of $208 million from last year’s consensus figure.

Pioneer Statement on Continuing Slide in Massachusetts’ Revenue

The Commonwealth’s tax collections continue to slide, totaling $3.594 billion in January, $268 million below what the state collected in January 2023, and short of the revised benchmark by $263 million. Massachusetts state government must live within its means by reducing FY2025 spending. The days of fiscal surpluses, unprecedented increases in year-over-year spending, and flowing federal aid have come to an end.

Pioneer Statement on Decline in State Revenues

The Commonwealth’s finances have stumbled hard in recent months, and based on a report the Department of Revenue (DOR) sent to the Legislature in January, the trend shows no signs of easing. Massachusetts needs a renewed emphasis on fiscal discipline and pro-growth policies to make the state economically competitive again.

Skill-based immigration could ease labor shortage

A recent Biden administration executive order that amends the Schedule A list, which identifies occupations experiencing labor shortages and allows immigrants in those occupations to expedite their employment in the U.S., could positively impact the hiring of skilled international workers for years to come — a welcome development as the country and Massachusetts struggle to attract talent amidst a worsening labor shortage.

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.

The Massachusetts Workforce: Abundant Resources, Steep Challenges

Massachusetts features a strong workforce training system with abundant resources yet faces challenges in matching jobs and applicants, training youth, and attracting sufficient numbers of skilled immigrants, according to a pair of studies from Pioneer Institute.

Pioneer Institute Statement on the State Legislature’s FY2024 Tax Relief Package

The recent advancement of a tax bill H. 4104, that is expected to be enacted by the Legislature this week after languishing for more than 20 months, puts Massachusetts taxpayers one step closer to realizing some tax relief. However, it may be too little to tackle the Commonwealth’s affordability and competitiveness challenges.

Poll: MA Voters Oppose Legislative Proposals to Change Tax Rebate Law

A strong majority of registered Massachusetts voters oppose a plan recently announced by state legislative leaders that would change the way tax rebates are distributed in Massachusetts under a state law approved by voters in 1986, according to a new poll sponsored by Pioneer Institute and the Massachusetts High Technology Council.

A Tale of Two Massachusetts: Wealth and Labor Differences Between East and West

This blog compares the income, wealth, and property values of western Massachusetts to those of eastern Massachusetts, highlighting the west's potential for growth.

Senate Tax Package Misses the Mark on Competitiveness

The Senate tax package, S.2397, is heavy on provisions that reduce the tax burden for certain taxpayers, thereby helping those that qualify for the expanded credits and deductions. The bill, however, is light on provisions that will improve the Commonwealth’s competitiveness.

Study: Immigrant Entrepreneurs Benefit N.E. Economy, Despite Facing Obstacles to Growth

BOSTON – Immigrants in Massachusetts and New England are more likely to be self-employed, but the businesses they own tend to be in different industries than those owned by the U.S. born, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.
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A Model for Occupational Licensing Reform in the Bay State

Licensing for many professions squeezes the supply of services, artificially inflating prices and creating wage premiums. One study from the Institute for Justice put the wage premium relative to an environment without any occupational licensing at a whopping 22 percent in Massachusetts.

Study Finds Massachusetts Workforce Has Become More Female, Older, More Diverse

The Massachusetts labor force has transformed in recent decades, with some of the biggest changes being the advancement of women, workers getting older and more diverse, and a divergence in labor force participation rates based on levels of educational achievement, according to “At a Glance: The Massachusetts Labor Force,” a white paper written by Pioneer's Economic Research Associate Aidan Enright.

New IRS Data Shows Out-Migration Worsening, Underscoring the Need for Massachusetts Leaders to Focus on State’s Competitiveness

Massachusetts’ net loss of adjusted gross income (AGI) to other states grew from $2.5 billion in 2020 to $4.3 billion in 2021, according to recently released IRS data. Over 67 percent of the loss was to Florida and New Hampshire, both states with no income tax.

Public Statement on the House’s Proposed Tax Reform and Budget

Pioneer Institute applauds key tax reform provisions advanced by the Speaker and House leadership, including a reduced short-term capital gains tax rate and implementation of a single sales factor apportionment. But leadership must do more to bolster the state’s economic competitiveness and slow out-migration of wealth and business owners that endangers the commonwealth’s economic future.

Debunking Tax Migration Myths

Provisions of Gov. Healey’s $876 million tax package targeted to higher-income earners — including revisions to the estate tax and a reduction in the tax rate for short-term capital gains — are important for encouraging taxpayers subject to them to remain in Massachusetts, according to a new analysis from Pioneer Institute.
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A History of Rent Control Policy in Massachusetts

While many may only remember the 1994 referendum and the laws…

Corporate Ownership: A Threat to Housing Affordability?

An increase in corporate ownership of housing has some experts worried about potential consequences of such a shift. One study found a link between LLC ownership and housing stock that is in disrepair, with more rapid deterioration than would be expected if ownership had not changed.

Gov. Healey’s Tax Plan: Not Enough on Competitiveness

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In an effort to deliver "an affordable, equitable and competitive tax structure for Massachusetts," Governor Maura Healey on Feb. 28 unveiled her tax package. While her proposal makes significant strides in addressing affordability and indirectly improves equity, it does little to address the issues of competitiveness.

The Debate Over Rent Control Re-Emerges Amid Housing Crisis

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There is a housing crisis in the Bay State, a fact unlikely to…

Eight Billion Minds: Unsustainable Population Bomb or Infinite Resource?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Cato Scholar and author Marian Tupy about his new book, Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet, focusing on the contrast in policy perspectives between those who see humans consumers of finite resources and those who recognize the unlimited potential of human ingenuity.

MBTA Safety Overhaul: Retooling Teams For Trustworthy Transit

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This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with transit advocate and expert Chris Dempsey about ways in which structural change in the MBTA's safety oversight can be reformed to improve performance, engender greater trust amongst the region’s riders, and reduce transportation congestion in our growing economy.

Julianne Zimmerman on the Inventive Legacies of Immigrants

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Julianne Zimmerman, managing director at Reinventure Capital, lecturer on Social Entrepreneurship at Tufts University (and named to Forbes' 2022 "50 Over 50" list). Julianne sees first-hand how immigrants collaborate with the U.S.-born to create meaningful inventions that solve real problems - but how rhetoric, policy, and an outdated system can shut them out.

Joséphine Erni on Bringing Swiss Innovation to the U.S. Market

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Joséphine Erni, Innovation Lead at Swissnex in Boston and New York, and immigrant from Switzerland. She explains how building collaborations between the highly entrepreneurial Swiss and the world’s biggest market, the U.S., gives rise to incredible innovations that benefit the world.

Josh Bedi on How Immigrants Boost Native Entrepreneurship

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Joshua Bedi, child of an immigrant and postdoctoral researcher in entrepreneurship in the Department of Strategy and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. He is the son of an immigrant who relocated from India to Jackson, Mississippi, and started a business. It was a simple neighborhood gas station, but also a symbol of what hardworking immigrants can do to boost innovation and business generation in host countries, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers podcast.

Pioneer Institute Statement on Question 1

Yesterday, voters came closer than many expected to rejecting the largest tax increase in Massachusetts history, even though opponents were dramatically outspent by the unions that bankrolled the amendment to the state Constitution. 

Steve Tobocman and Mamba Hamissi on How Refugees Are Revitalizing Detroit

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Steve Tobocman, head of the economic development nonprofit Global Detroit, and one of the thousands of refugee business owners he’s assisted, Mamba Hamissi, Burundi native and co-founder of Baobab Fare, an East African restaurant.

Grading State Governors: Do Higher Taxes Equate To Higher Value?

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards about the new report he co-authored entitled, "Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors 2022." They discuss how Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s fiscal stewardship compares with other states, and explore whether higher tax rates and spending correlate with better state performance and resident satisfaction.

The Causes and Potential Cures for Inflation

This week on Hubwonk, Harvard economist and Pioneer Institute board member Ed Glaeser interviews Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and President Emeritus of Harvard University, for a special episode on the origins of inflation, its impact on the American economy, and a roadmap to recovery.

Sheetal Bahirat Turns a Profit on Food Waste

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Sheetal Bahirat, founder and CEO of Hidden Gems Beverage Company, maker of Reveal Avocado Seed Brew, and immigrant from India. Food waste is an understudied and underutilized component of our daily lives with huge implications for our bodies and the planet - it is the number one contributor to climate change.