Pioneer Institute Mourns the Passing of Tom Birmingham

We at Pioneer Institute mourn the loss of Tom Birmingham even as we are thankful for having had the opportunity to get to know this kind and brilliant man when in office and later, when he spent several years as Pioneer’s distinguished senior fellow in education.

First-of-Its-Kind Interactive Mapping Tool Reveals Extent of For-Profit Entities Benefitting from the 340B Drug Pricing Program

Today, Pioneer Institute released a first-of-its-kind, 50-state mapping tool and database highlighting the troubling way in which hospitals and covered entities leverage unlimited pharmacy contracts under the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

Pioneer Commends MA Governor-elect Healey’s Step Toward Greater Transparency

Pioneer Institute commends Governor-elect Maura Healey for choosing not to claim a public records exemption for the governor’s office. Governor-elect Healey also pledged to support legislation that would curb exemptions claimed by the legislative and judiciary branches of state government.

Study Urges Massachusetts to Embrace Innovative School Models

A new policy brief from Pioneer Institute urges Massachusetts policymakers to encourage the proliferation and progress of non-traditional models that offer families creative, flexible, personalized and low-cost private education options.

Report: Immigrant Entrepreneurs Provide Economic Benefits, but Face Significant Obstacles

Immigrants have started a quarter of all businesses in Massachusetts despite making up just 17 percent of the state workforce, and those establishments appear to be more innovative than those founded by native-born Americans. Despite these contributions, shrinking federal visa caps and red tape are among the factors making it more difficult for immigrants to come to the U.S., according to “Immigrant Entrepreneurs and the Barriers They Face: An Academic Literature Review,” published by Pioneer Institute. 

Poll Finds Strong Majority of Massachusetts Residents Support Restoring U.S. History MCAS Graduation Requirement

Sixty-two percent of Massachusetts residents support restoring passage of a U.S. history test as a public high school graduation requirement, according to a poll of Massachusetts residents’ attitudes toward education policy commissioned by Pioneer Institute and conducted by the Emerson College Polling Center.

Survey Finds Spotty Compliance Among Hospitals with Federal Price Transparency Law

A 2019 federal law requires hospitals to make prices for 300 shoppable services available online in a “consumer-friendly format,” but a Pioneer Institute survey of 19 hospitals finds that information on discounted cash prices—the price most likely to be charged to consumers paying out of pocket—was unavailable at seven of those hospitals.

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. 

Study: Legislators Must Answer Key Questions Before Setting Policy for App-Based Rideshare/Delivery Workers

After Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court declared an initiative that was to appear on the November ballot unconstitutional, the issue of how to classify app-based rideshare/delivery workers is back in the hands of the state Legislature.  A new study published by Pioneer Institute distills from the research literature eight questions legislators must answer before determining how to address this fast-growing industry.

Two Stars in a Glowing Voc-Tech Education System

“A Tale of Two City Schools: Worcester Tech and Putnam Academy Become Models for Recovery” is a new white paper by Pioneer Institute that analyzes how Worcester Tech and Putnam Academy — schools with high numbers of low-income and special needs students — leapt from the bottom of Massachusetts voc-tech rankings to become leaders among local schools.

Toolkit Highlights Keys to Massachusetts’s Vocational-Technical School Success

Alternating weeks of academic and vocational education, school autonomy, and close ties with local businesses have been key to the success of Massachusetts's  vocational-technical high schools, according to a report published today by Pioneer Institute.

Pioneer Institute Expects That Massachusetts Taxpayers Will Be Refunded $3.2B Due To State Revenue Cap

Pioneer Institute projects that the state will refund approximately $3.2 billion to taxpayers due to a state law sponsored by Citizens for Limited Taxation and voted on by taxpayers in 1986 that caps the amount of revenue the state can collect in any given year.

Survey of Business Sentiment: MA Income Tax Hike Would Lead to Employer Exodus

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of Massachusetts business leaders think business associates will leave the state if a constitutional amendment appearing on the November ballot to hike taxes is successful, according to a survey conducted by Pioneer Institute.

Study Finds Pension Obligation Bonds Could Worsen T Retirement Fund’s Financial Woes

A new study published by Pioneer Institute finds that issuing pension obligation bonds (POBs) to refinance $360 million of the MBTA Retirement Fund’s (MBTARF’s) $1.3 billion unfunded pension liability would only compound the T’s already serious financial risks.

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.

Book Finds Massachusetts Voc-Tech Schools Are National Model, Calls for Expansion

Massachusetts vocational-technical schools -- boasting minuscule dropout rates, strong academic performance, and graduates prepared for careers or higher education -- should be expanded to meet growing demand, according to a new book published by Pioneer Institute.

METCO Works Well, Small Tweaks Could Make It Even Better, Study Says

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, or METCO program, has successfully educated thousands of students for 56 years, but several minor changes could make it even better, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Book Reveals How Tax Hike Amendment Would Damage Commonwealth’s Economic Competitiveness

If adopted, a constitutional amendment to hike state taxes that will appear on the ballot in November could erase the hard-earned progress Massachusetts has achieved toward economic competitiveness over the last 25 years and may not result in any additional education and transportation funding, according to a new book from Pioneer Institute, entitled Back to Taxachusetts?: How the proposed tax amendment would upend one of the nation’s best economies, which is a distillation of two dozen academic studies.

Pioneer Institute Statement on the Latest State Audit of the Boston Public Schools

The third review of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) in fewer than 20 years makes clear: Things are getting worse.  Graduation rates are down, achievement gaps are up, an unacceptably large percentage of students attend schools ranked in the lowest 10 percent statewide. In a cruel twist, more than three in five students still are not taught material on which they are tested. There remains no clear strategy for improvement.  

Study Documents The Design Challenges, Contracting Issues, And Delays Facing New MBTA Fare Collection System

This new study unearths previously unseen communications between the MBTA and its contractors, showing that the MBTA’s efforts to modernize its fare collection system, including allowing payments with credit cards and bringing “tap and go” technology to Commuter Rail and ferry lines, was riddled with technological challenges and difficulties overseeing contractors as early as 2019, culminating in a 3-year delay to the project’s full implementation.

Study Finds Continued Growth in Education Tax-Credit Scholarship Programs

Education tax credits grew increasingly popular in 2021, with four more states enacting programs.  There are now 28 tax-credit scholarship (TCS) programs in 23 states, and they serve more than 325,000 students, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Massachusetts Hospitals Pull Back on Charity Care as Revenue from Federal 340B Drug Discount Program Explodes

Over the past decade, the revenue for hospitals generated by the federal 340B drug discount program, initially intended to serve low-income, uninsured populations, has exploded even while a number of important Massachusetts hospitals have reduced the level of charity care they provide, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute. The Pioneer Institute study, “340B Drug Discounts: An Increasingly Dysfunctional Program,” notes that nationwide, 340B drug sales rose from $9 billion in 2014 to $38 billion in 2020.

Study: Legislature Likely to Reduce Spending on Education and Transportation from Other Revenue Sources, Replace Cuts with Surtax Money

Revenue from a ballot initiative to amend the state Constitution and raise income taxes on households and businesses by adopting a graduated income tax structure would supposedly provide resources for transportation and public education, but a new study published by Pioneer Institute finds that, were the tax amendment to pass, the money would be fungible and much of it likely spent on general budget measures.   

Study Recommends State Receivership for Boston Public Schools

After 15 years of rapid decline marked by low overall performance, yawning achievement gaps, instability, bureaucratic inertia and central office ineffectiveness in the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the Commonwealth should initiate receivership of the district, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

New Pioneer Institute Law Center to Focus on Educational Opportunity, Economic Freedom, and Accountable Government

Pioneer Institute is pleased to announce the formation of PioneerLegal, the first non-profit, public interest law firm of its kind in New England, to defend and promote educational options, accountable government and economic opportunity across the Northeast.

New Study Shows What Works for Civics Education

Americans strongly disagree about how our K-12 schools should teach our system of self-government. Dozens of organizations offer rival civics education resources and many of them don't work. A new study published jointly by Pioneer Institute and the National Association of Scholars offers in-depth evaluations of 15 leading civics programs, grades them on their effectiveness, and offers recommendations for how Americans should build upon these programs.

Study Finds Bus Rapid Transit Can Offer Cost-Effective Benefits

Bus rapid transit (BRT) incorporates unique features such as dedicated lanes to provide reliable and cost-effective service while reducing congestion and its detrimental environmental impacts, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Pioneer Institute Applauds Secretary Galvin’s Legislation to Subject Governor’s Office to Public Records Law, Calls for End to Legislative Exemption

Pioneer Institute applauds Secretary of State William Galvin for filing legislation that would subject the governor’s office to the Commonwealth’s public records law.  Since 1997, Massachusetts governors have broadly interpreted the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in Lambert v. Judicial Nominating Council to shield themselves from releasing certain documents.  Secretary Galvin’s legislation would prohibit future governors from doing so.

Pioneer Supports Legal Challenge to Misleading Tax Ballot Language, Releases Video

Pioneer Institute supports the diverse and bipartisan group that filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) challenging the summary language meant to provide an accurate description of the tax hike amendment to voters. The language was approved by the Attorney General and Secretary of the Commonwealth when a similar amendment was proposed in 2018, and unless the lawsuit is successful, will likely appear on the Massachusetts ballot in November.

Study Finds Massachusetts Would Benefit from Adopting Education Savings Accounts

Massachusetts provides fewer options for students to be educated outside their assigned school districts than most other states do, and educational savings accounts (ESAs) offer an effective tool for giving students additional opportunities, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.