The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is regularly featured in newspapers, on the radio, on blogs, and anywhere reliable information is needed.

For media inquiries, contact Phineas Baxandall at 617-426-1228, x107 or pbaxandall@massbudget.org

In The News

Neponset allies alarmed by Baker’s push for pollution monitoring

Dorchester Reporter, April 27, 2017

According to the nonpartisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, state budget allocations for the environment, when adjusted for inflation, have decreased by 37.7 percent since 2001.

Racial disparities persist in mortgage lending

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 24, 2017

In “Race to Equity: The State of Black Massachusetts,” the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center noted that homeownership has been the primary way of building wealth for most people, but that this avenue of wealth generation has been closed off or made less available to communities of color.

House budget more generous to local schools, but old issues persist

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 19, 2017

...[T]he state has not completely funded the charter reimbursement in years, and a recent analysis of the House budget published by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows districts could see an even lower reimbursement percentage next year than the approximately 60 percent rate they’re getting so far this fiscal year. ...Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, pointed out the House budget sets aside an additional $12 million in reserve Chapter 70 funds that could come into play later.

Tax revenues slump in Massachusetts despite strong economy

Associated Press, April 14, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said there are no simple solutions. He said taxing services may sound like one option, but one of the largest providers of services is the health care sector, and there would likely be little political appetite for taxing health services. ..."In the late 1990s, the state cut the state income tax by about $3 billion and we've had problems since then," Berger said.

Baker's Health Fees Face Scrutiny in House Budget

Glouchester Times, April 11, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said charging employers an assessment for not fully covering their workers "would provide the state with revenue to offset the cost of providing insurance when employers don't. That makes it possible to balance the budget without relying on painful program cuts."

Voc-Tech Tension

Commonwealth, April 11, 2017

Many of the schools have solid academic offerings and boast state-of-the-art facilities for vocational programs, supported by a state funding formula that sends voc-tech schools about $5,000 more per pupil than district high schools. While some vocational schools have unfilled seats, many of those serving the state’s Gateway Cities—former industrial centers such as New Bedford, Worcester, and Fitchburg—are now oversubscribed. According to a report issued last year by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 3,200 students were on waiting lists at Massachusetts vocational schools for the 2015-16 school year. Gateway Cities account for roughly one-quarter of all public school students statewide, but they were home to 53 percent of those unable to land a spot at a vocational school.

Schools would see increased funds under House budget

MetroWest Daily News, April 11, 2017

Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said that while the proposed budget doesn’t address calls for major reforms to the education funding system, the increased Chapter 70 funds will be welcome. “There’s a modest increase over the governor’s proposal in Chapter 70, which would be helpful to local school districts,” Berger said. “There’s also an increase in funding for early education, particularly to improve the quality of early education and the salaries of those providers, which is positive as well.”

House offers $40.3 billion state budget proposal

Wicked Local (multiple local papers), April 11, 2017

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger said the House budget is not overly optimistic, but he did not rule out mid-year problems under the plan as proposed. “I think the budget itself and 3.8 percent growth has a reasonably good chance of being sustainable, but the fact that there are some underfunded accounts within that is a little bit troubling,” Berger said.

Budget Dynamics Gain Clarity with Release of House's $40 Billion Plan

State House News Service, April 10, 2017

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger said the House budget is not overly optimistic, but he did not rule out mid-year problems under the plan as proposed. "I think the budget itself and 3.8 percent growth has a reasonably good chance of being sustainable, but the fact that there are some underfunded accounts within that is a little bit troubling," Berger said. Dempsey acknowledged that the House put less funding than Baker into some accounts, such as sheriffs and indigent counsel services, that historically require passage of midyear spending bills to meet demand.

Sales Tax Ballot Question Could Make 2018 Elections More Interesting — And Puzzling

WBUR, March 30, 2017

Noah Berger, of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says the uses of the sales tax and the proposed millionaire's tax are different, making it hard to link the two ballot questions. The millionaire's tax revenue is intended for education and transportation, meaning spending would have to be reduced in other areas to offset any cut to the sales tax. "Simply cutting the sales tax and paying for that tax cut with over a billion dollars in budget cuts would be very problematic as it could lead to deep cuts in local aid, access to health care and other services people rely on,"

MassHealth can breathe a sigh of relief — for now

Boston Globe, March 25, 2017

“The fact that this bill appears to be dead removes one serious threat that the state was facing,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

What Will President Trump's Budget Mean For Massachusetts? [Guest Noah Berger]

WBUR: Radio Boston, March 16, 2017

The Trump Administration released their budget proposal last night. It calls for a sharp increase in military spending while making deep cuts across much of the rest of government. This could have significant ramifications for Massachusetts, which might see some of the biggest losses, and gains, under the president's spending plan.

Baker pitches plan to build state’s reserve fund

WWLP-22 News, March 2, 2017

“The new rule normally would mean a reduction in the amount contributed to the Rainy Day Fund relative to the amount that would be contributed under the current rule. But in recent years the ‘required’ contribution — as defined under current rules — hasn’t actually been made,” MassBudget wrote in its analysis of Baker’s fiscal 2018 budget plan. “So, if the new rule were actually followed (in contrast to the current rule, which frequently has not been), it could result in progress in building up the Rainy Day Fund.”

Worker shortage adding to wait list for preschool programs

Gloucester Times, March 2, 2017

“There are real dangers of large, regressive tax cuts that would be paid for by cutting early education,” said Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Berger said federal and state funding for early childhood education programs has declined more than 20 percent in recent years. “Early education doesn’t just benefit kids, it benefits the parents as well,” he said. “Kids get a high-quality education that prepares them for school, and parents are able to go to work.”

Winchester sees growth in local millionaires

Winchester Wicked Local, March 2, 2017

Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, however, said the current flat tax system favors the wealthy. "The way our tax system works now, the highest 1 percent pays a smaller share of income on state and local taxes than everyone else," he said. "I think this proposal helps to address that so our highest income earners begin to start paying closer to the same share of taxes as people with lower incomes pay."

Baker budget proposal includes moderate aid increases

Bolton Wicked Local, March 2, 2017

"The centerpiece of this budget is a smart, common-sense proposal to address the problem of costs for employee health care being shifted from employers onto state government," said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. "Fixing that problem should create a more sustainably balanced budget and reduce the pressure for budget cuts that could harm people and communities across the commonwealth. On other issues, it is more of a status quo budget; it doesn't make significant new investments to expand access to early education, or make higher education more affordable, or fix our transportation systems."

Massachusetts college students ask for more funding for higher ed, free tuition for a year

MassLive, March 1, 2017

Advocates for higher education point to research by the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center showing that the state has cut funding for higher education by $200 million since 2001 -- a year that saw the highest amount of funding in the last 15 years, although the exact amount has ebbed and flowed with the economy.

Federal cuts threaten state’s health reform

Cape Cod Times, February 26, 2017

A report this month by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says this fiscal year one in four dollars in the state budget comes from federal sources, meaning that cuts engineered by politicians in Washington could mean less money for programs and services — from health care subsidies to payments for foster care and nutrition subsidies for women, infants and children "Massachusetts is every bit as much at risk as every other state," said Noah Berger, president of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Massachusetts group rings alarm on federal funding

Boston Business Journal, February 17, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says Massachusetts is at risk of losing billions in federal funding — the vast majority of that going to Medicaid — if the Trump administration decides to change several federal programs. 'We see our role as making sure people know the facts,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “This is going to be an important national debate. Massachusetts has a lot of leaders and organized citizens that can play an active role in that debate, and (we want to) make sure people in Massachusetts and around the country understand what’s at stake ... A lot of our core services that protect kids…are potentially at risk.'

Promises, promises: Massachusetts companies are missing hiring goals even with hefty tax breaks

Boston Business Journal, February 17, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and a critic of corporate tax breaks, said giving the council more discretion “could be problematic,” depending on how the council wields the power and how the regulations stemming from the economic development law are implemented. Those regulations are currently under development and will be subject to public comment. “There’s a question whether programs that give businesses special tax breaks are ever a good use of public money,” Berger said. “If companies are going to get these special tax breaks, they should deliver the jobs they have promised. If not, they shouldn’t get the tax break.”

PARTNERSHIP IN PERIL: FEDERAL FUNDING AT RISK FOR STATES

Health Care for All Blog, February 17, 2017

"Today, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a report highlighting the major federal funding sources received by the state to provide access to affordable health care, help children thrive, assist low-income families, and care for veterans. ...The MassBudget report drives home the point that all states, including Massachusetts, depend on a partnership with the federal government to share in the cost of providing health care to needy children, people living with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and low income and working families. If the ACA is repealed, if CHIP is not funded, or if Medicaid is gutted, Massachusetts will face significant budget challenges and difficult choices that could have devastating impacts on the ability of low-income individuals and families, children, seniors and people with disabilities to access health care services."

Report shows how much Massachusetts relies on federal funds

News & Observer (North Carolina), February 16, 2017

A new report is detailing how much Massachusetts relies on federal dollars. The liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates one in every four dollars in the state budget comes from federal funds — nearly $11 billion. The money helps support more than 30 state agencies and departments.

Report shows how much Massachusetts relies on federal funds

WWLP 22 News, February 16, 2017

MassBudget President Noah Berger said the report’s goal is to highlight those programs that could face cutbacks under some of the actions being discussed by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

What does President Donald Trump mean for the state budget?

MassLive, February 16, 2017

'There's a very important partnership between the federal and state government that allows the state to do much of what we accomplish in state government,' said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 'In different ways, most of it is potentially at risk.'

Massachusetts Playbook

Politico, February 16, 2017

'Partnership in Peril: Federal Funding at Risk for State Programs Relied on by Massachusetts Residents,' by Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director/MassBudget: 'This fiscal year, one of every four dollars that supports the state’s budget comes from the federal government -- close to $11 billion in federal funds.'

Think Tank Sees Risks for $11 Bil in Federal Revenues

State House News, February 16, 2017

In 'Partnership in Peril: Federal Funding at Risk for State Programs Relied on by Massachusetts Residents,' the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said as much as $1.8 billion is riding on the outcome of repeal-and-replace deliberations concerning the federal Affordable Care Act. While acknowledging it's hard to predict, the report speculates that a shift to a block grant format to fund Medicaid could reduce annual funding by 25 percent or more within ten years.

Baker talks sanctuary cities, pot and health care costs

Eagle Tribune, February 16, 2017

A report released Thursday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said a repeal could jeopardize up to $1.82 billion in annual Medicaid funding that the state receives and reduce federal funding by 25 percent or more within a decade. About one-quarter of the $40.5 billion state budget comes from federal funding, according to the report.

Specific workforce training for early- and mid-career Islanders

Martha's Vineyard Times, February 15, 2017

A new Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report shows that more than 3,000 students were on waiting lists for vocational technical schools in Massachusetts last year. Meanwhile, employers reported they have trouble filling jobs that require technical skills, and anticipate an even greater demand for the qualifications that graduates of secondary vocational schools provide. The report reminds us that the less education one has, the more likely the person will fall into a low-income bracket. Data show that graduates of vocational high schools show better employability and higher lifetime earnings than traditional high school graduates who do not go on to college.

Technical Schools Come of Age

The Salem News, February 13, 2017

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, just over one-quarter of the students enrolled in voc-techs come from Gateway Cities, but they are home to more than half of those on waitlists.

Legislation Threatens Millions in Local Aid from the Lottery

Harvard Press, February 9, 2017

'When the Massachusetts Lottery was established in 1971, it was supposed to provide aid to poorer towns with less revenue from property taxes, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.'

4 ways builders are working around the labor shortage

Construction Drive, February 8, 2017

'High school vocational programs are popular but often underfunded, according to a recent report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Last year in that state alone, there were 3,200 students on Career/Vocational Technical Education high school wait-lists. The center said it would cost at least $27 million to fill the gap in Massachusetts high schools. The report cites a study conducted in the 1990s by the MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization, which noted immediate and long-term benefits for students in CVTE programs. The most effective programs today, according to the report, emphasize individual instruction and employer partnerships, as well as offer industry-standard equipment and facilities, and place vocational training alongside the regular curriculum.'

Mass. lawmakers expect to tackle millionaire's tax this year

South Coast Today, February 8, 2017

Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, however, said the current flat tax system favors the wealthy. 'The way our tax system works now, the highest 1 percent pays a smaller share of income on state and local taxes than everyone else,' he said. 'I think this proposal helps to address that so our highest income earners begin to start paying closer to the same share of taxes as people with lower incomes pay.' While Massachusetts has a flat income tax rate, property taxes, gas taxes and sales taxes combine to take up a higher percentage of low- and middle-income residents' wages, Berger said.

Voc-tech schools are a Mass. success story

Commonwealth, February 6, 2017

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, just over one-quarter of the students enrolled in voc-techs come from Gateway Cities, but they are home to more than half of those on waitlists.

Lawmakers expect to tackle millionaires tax this year

MetroWest Daily News, February 4, 2017

Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, however, said the current flat tax system favors the wealthy. 'The way our tax system works now, the highest 1 percent pays a smaller share of income on state and local taxes than everyone else,' he said. 'I think this proposal helps to address that so our highest income earners begin to start paying closer to the same share of taxes as people with lower incomes pay.' While Massachusetts has a flat income tax rate, property taxes, gas taxes and sales taxes combine to take up a higher percentage of low- and middle-income residents' wages, Berger said.

Governor Proposes Moderate Increase in State Aid for Saugus

Wicked Local Saugus, February 3, 2017

'The centerpiece of this budget is a smart, common-sense proposal to address the problem of costs for employee health care being shifted from employers onto state government,' said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 'Fixing that problem should create a more sustainably balanced budget and reduce the pressure for budget cuts that could harm people and communities across the Commonwealth. On other issues, it is more of a status quo budget: it doesn't make significant new investments to expand access to early education, or make higher education more affordable, or fix our transportation systems.'

A First Take on the Governor's Budget [video]

Boston News Network, February 3, 2017

Impact of state budget on Kingston's

Wicked Local Kingston, February 2, 2017

"The centerpiece of this budget is a smart, common-sense proposal to address the problem of costs for employee health care being shifted from employers onto state government, Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said. Fixing that problem should create a more sustainably balanced budget and reduce the pressure for budget cuts that could harm people and communities across the commonwealth. On other issues, it is more of a status quo budget; it doesn't make significant new investments to expand access to early education, or make higher education more affordable, or fix our transportation systems.

Governor Baker’s budget proposal does little for schools, a lot for healthcare

Bay State Banner, February 1, 2017

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Baker’s proposal raises Chapter 70 aid only by about 2 percent, roughly enough to match inflation rates, not rising costs. The percent increase is smaller than that given in the past few years’ budgets, MassBudget states.

McDonald’s Burger Machine Unveiled As “Fight For $15” Moves Forward

New Boston Post, January 31, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, told New Boston Post after Tuesday’s briefing that the threat of automation should not influence whether or not Massachusetts should adopt a higher minimum wage scale. 'Increased automation allows workers to become more productive,' Berger said. 'It can allow for higher wages because it increases productivity.'

One Percent for Nature

Newburyport Daily News, January 31, 2017

Revenues are not keeping up with costs. We are not over-spending, and we have not had any spending increases. As the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center points out, general expenditures are consistently at 12 cents for every dollar the state collects. And that’s where they have been since the late 1980s.

Shelters under pressure as homeless numbers soar

Boston Herald, January 26, 2017

In fiscal year 2001, the state paid $49 million to shelter homeless people, but by fiscal year 2017, funding dropped to $44.8 million, according to data by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Legislative pay hikes could hit $18M

Boston Herald, January 25, 2017

Meanwhile the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning budget-watcher, has estimated next year’s budget gap could be as much as $615 million.

Baker targets new revenue to help 'wrestle' budget into balance

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, January 25, 2017

"The centerpiece of this budget really is a smart and common-sense approach to address the problem of costs being shifted from private sector employers for their employees onto state government," Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger said. "I think that that's been a significant issue for the MassHealth budget and the governor's proposal to put an assessment on employers who are not providing coverage for their employees is a smart idea that takes on a really big challenge."

Baker budget proposal seeks to return to pre-ACA health care options

Politico, January 25, 2017

“The fact that the governor has weighed in to try to support maintaining the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a good thing,” said Noah Berger, president of left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “There are limits to what the state can do if the federal government were to repeal the Affordable Care Act or to [issue] block grants for Medicaid. Those would be really, serious blows to the state budget.”

Gov. Charlie Baker defends proposed $2,000-per-worker health insurance fee

MassLive, January 25, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, called Baker's approach to the employer assessment "a really smart, commonsense approach to try to address the cost shift from private employers onto the state Medicaid program."

BAKER PREPARING FOR ACA REPEAL, BUT BUDGETING FOR STATUS QUO

State House News Service, January 25, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said Wednesday that an ACA repeal or a federal change to turn Medicaid into a block grant program "would be really serious blows to the state budget."

R.I. needs more than incentives

Editorial: Providence Journal, January 22, 2017

According to a study by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a Boston-based think tank, the Bay State will spend more than $1 billion this year on business tax breaks - nearly triple what it spent two decades ago after the numbers are adjusted for inflation.

Potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren: Beacon Hill needs more 'honest' budget process

MassLive, January 20, 2017

The specific reforms Warren is pushing for are two proposals laid out in a recent policy brief by a liberal-leaning think tank, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The first is the public release of a maintenance budget, which shows how much money would be needed to maintain current service levels. Nineteen states publish maintenance budgets. The second is the public release of an estimate of baseline tax growth -- the amount of revenue expected as a result of economic growth or decline -- and how revenues will be affected by any anticipated tax policy changes.

Setti Warren Knocks State Budget Practices, Cites Revenue Needs

State House News Service, January 20, 2017

The mayor also endorsed two recommendations made by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center calling for a publicly-released maintenance budget to detail both the projected costs of maintaining current services from one budget year to the next, and a baseline tax revenue growth estimate that accounts for the effect of tax policies that have been enacted but have not yet taken effect.

Gov's 2018 Budget

State House News, January 18, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said in a report this month that the Baker administration and the Legislature face a $615 million gap in the fiscal 2018 budget, citing the use of non-recurring revenues in this year's budget, likely revenue increases, and projected spending increases of $835 million, including $339 million in new health care costs.

Jack Clarke: Time to deliver on Baker's pledge of 1 percent for nature

Eagle Tribune, January 17, 2017

"Revenues are not keeping up with costs. We are not over-spending, and we have not had any spending increases. As the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center points out, general expenditures are consistently at 12 cents for every dollar the state collects. And that’s where they have been since the late 1980s."

Walsh tries again for pre-kindergarten expansion

Boston Globe, January 17, 2017

“Boston has come up with a new idea,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “And there will likely be a lively debate about whether this revenue source is properly allocated to the city or the state.”

Clarke: One Percent for Nature

The Salem News, January 17, 2017

Opaque Massachusetts budget process hides state’s real priorities

Blue Mass Group blog, January 13, 2017

In a preview this week of the Fiscal 2018 state budget, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center points out a key shortcoming in the budget process. That process is not transparent, the nonpartisan think tank argues, because it doesn’t provide a needed context for the proposals and decisions that the governor and Legislature make.

MassHealth enrollment surging, adding to pressure on state budget

WWLP 22 News, January 12, 2017

In a report released Monday, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said the Baker administration and the Legislature face a $615 million gap in the fiscal 2018 budget, citing the use of non-recurring revenues in this year’s budget, likely revenue increases, and projected spending increases of $835 million, including $339 million in new health care costs.

MASSHEALTH ENROLLMENT SURGES, ADDING TO PRESSURE ON STATE BUDGET

State House News Service, January 12, 2017

the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said the Baker administration and the Legislature face a $615 million gap in the fiscal 2018 budget, citing the use of non-recurring revenues in this year's budget, likely revenue increases, and projected spending increases of $835 million, including $339 million in new health care costs.

Massachusetts Budget Deficit Could Be $616 Million at Start of Fiscal 2018, Report Says

Tax Notes, January 11, 2017

Massachusetts could face a $615.7 million budget deficit at the start of fiscal 2018, caused in part by the use of a one-time tax credit cap and other temporary revenue sources to balance the budget in the past, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. ...The report also called for a more transparent budgetary process, including the public disclosure of both a maintenance budget -- the projected costs of maintaining the state’s current services -- and a baseline tax revenue growth estimate.

Center: FY18 budget gap $615.7m

Commonwealth, January 10, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates the state’s funding gap for the coming fiscal year will be $615.7 million and recommends two policy changes to introduce greater transparency into the budget-writing process.

New minimum wage takes effect in Massachusetts

Wicked Local Wilmington, January 5, 2017

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in an August brief notes the Jan. 1 increase provides more economic security to many, but the full-time minimum-wage worker "will still make only $22,880 annually." Those earnings fail to support families and workers in a state with such a high cost of living, the report argues.

State minimum wage rises to $11, activists keep sights set on $15

Bay State Banner, January 4, 2017

According to a 2014 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report, approximately 20 percent of wage earners statewide will experience a pay boost this January. That figure includes nearly 500,000 minimum wage workers, as well as another group of 132,700 workers currently earning slightly above minimum wage. MassBudget expects employers will increase the latter group’s pay in response to the rising minimum.

As Minimum Wage Increases, Some Employers Cut Back

Boston Globe, January 2, 2017

In some cities, including Lowell, Springfield, Worcester, and New Bedford, at least a quarter of the workforce has had a salary bump, either directly from the minimum wage hike or the resulting move to higher pay for those making slightly above the base, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Western Mass. expected to benefit from minimum wage hike

The Recorder (Greenfield), January 2, 2017

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, increasing the minimum wage to $11 will directly affect 10,200 workers around Greenfield, Athol and Montague, and indirectly affects 2,500 more.

Hanover business owners discuss 'ripple effect' of minimum wage increase

Wicked Local Hanover, January 2, 2017

In 2014, the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated there were 473,000 workers statewide who earned less than $11 per hour.

Budget proposal increases aid to cities, schools

South Coast Today, January 1, 2017

'The centerpiece of this budget is a smart, common-sense proposal to address the problem of costs for employee health care being shifted from employers onto state government,' said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 'Fixing that problem should create a more sustainable, balanced budget and reduce the pressure for budget cuts that could harm people and communities across the Commonwealth. On other issues, it is more of a status quo budget. It doesn't make significant new investments to expand access to early education, or make higher education more affordable, or fix our transportation systems.'

Tiny Tax Break For Massachusetts Residents? Not This Year.

New England Public Radio, December 28, 2016

Noah Berger of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said there’s a balancing act that goes on with taxes. “There are always trade-offs between tax cuts and spending on things like education or transportation or local aid,” Berger said. “There’s no one simple answer to what the right way to weigh those is.”

New dorm helps drive Salem State revenue increase

Boston Business Journal, December 28, 2016

A recent report from the left-leaning group MassBudget found that funding for the state’s public colleges and universities has fallen by $3,000 per student since 2001. As a share of its economy, Massachusetts spends less on higher education than all but five states, according to the report.

State minimum wage increasing to $11 in new year

Fall River Herald News, December 22, 2016

In 2014, the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated there were 473,000 workers statewide who earned less than $11 per hour.

Higher education can boost state economy but as aid drops, cost barrier rises

Bay State Banner, December 15, 2016

But students attending public colleges and universities are now doing so at the cost of greater and greater debt, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. State scholarship support for low-income students to attend public colleges and universities has declined, as has state support for those schools’ operations in general, MassBudget says. Meanwhile, demand for public college and universities has risen during the same period. As such, students are increasingly forced to take out hefty loans.

900 state workers take Baker administration buyout offer

Boston Globe, December 15, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center... said in a statement that officials must look beyond short-term savings from the buyout. He said that “we don’t want understaffing to lead to problems like long lines at the registry of motor vehicles or shorter hours at state parks or reduced ability to protect our public health or our environment.”

Troubling Trend: "Greater Financial Burden" for Public University Students

Public News Service, December 14, 2016

Local high school graduates are paying more for their college education, and according to a new report, that trend could spell bad news for the state's economy. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report outlines a pattern of declining funding for public universities and colleges.

Higher education support eroding in Mass.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, December 14, 2016

Massachusetts has cut its higher education funding by an inflation-adjusted 14 percent since 2001, as both tuition and fees and student debt have increased, a new report found.

By the Numbers

Boston Globe, December 14, 2016

The decline in Massachusetts’ funding for public higher education since fiscal 2001, after adjusting for inflation, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent nonprofit organization. The report also found that average debt for students attending the state’s public colleges and universities during that period rose from $19,000 to $29,000, or 55 percent when adjusted for inflation.

REPORT: HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT IN STATE BUDGET ERODING

State House News Service, December 13, 2016

The declining support for the University of Massachusetts system, four-year state universities and two-year community colleges comes amidst "growing importance" of public higher education to the state's long-term health, according to the report, released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

REPORT: Higher Education Support in State Budget Eroding

Glouchester Times, December 13, 2016

The report took various approaches to comparing Massachusetts’ public higher education spending to other states, finding the Bay State ranks 43rd in higher education support per $1,000 of personal income, 31st in higher education spending per capita, and 21st in per-student spending adjusted for cost of living. Without adjusting for cost of living, Massachusetts has the 12th highest per-student spending.

For a rich state, Massachusetts higher-ed funding is poor, report finds

Boston Business Journal, December 13, 2016

As a share of its economy, Massachusetts spends less on higher education than all but five states, according to a new report from MassBudget detailing the Bay State’s funding cuts to public colleges and universities this century.

Report: Higher education support in state budget eroding

Lowell Sun, December 13, 2016

"We've seen very clearly how central having an educated workforce is to having a strong, high-wage economy in the modern world," MassBudget president Noah Berger said. "That correlation is extremely strong and getting stronger."

These Are the Students Who Actually Stay in Mass. After College

BostInno, December 13, 2016

Within our tech community, a common talking point is how we can keep young talent in Massachusetts. A recent report published by Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), called "In 16 Charts: Higher Education Funding in Massachusetts," revealed a graduate population that's actually more committed to staying in the state compared to others: alumni of public schools.

Report details declining funding for public higher ed

Patriot Ledger, December 13, 2016

"What we see clearly is there have been significant reductions in funding for public higher education on the order of $3,000 per student and increases in fees and tuition on the order of $4,000 per student," said Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Higher Ed state budget eroding

The Recorder (Greenfield), December 13, 2016

As total state funding has declined, student enrollment has gone up, according to the report, leading to a 31 percent drop in per-student spending since 2001, as adjusted for inflation.

Report: Higher education support in state budget eroding

South Coast Today, December 13, 2016

"One way to look at it is the cuts to funding for higher education have translated into higher student costs because costs are being shifted onto students, and that plays a major role both in increasing costs for students and increasing debt for students," Berger told the News Service.

Report details declining funding for public higher ed

Milford Daily News, December 13, 2016

Since research shows public higher education graduates are more likely than graduates of private schools to remain in state after finishing college, the state education system plays an important role in shaping the economy, Berger said.

Time to invest in Voke-Tech

Commonwealth, December 7, 2016

This report was buttressed last month by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s report, Skills For Our Future: Vocational Education in Massachusetts, recognizing that high quality vocational schools effectively prepare young people; both academically, as well as for future careers.

EDITORIAL: Don't Shortchange a Technical Education

Lowell Sun, December 2, 2016

A report in Thursday's Sun detailed the unmet demand in this state for high-school students seeking a vocational-technical education. In this day and age, you'd be right to ask, why is this imbalance tolerated? ...As the article indicated, the lack of available space unfortunately coincides where the need is greatest -- urban school systems, especially those in Gateway Cities.

Wait lists growing at vocational technical schools (with VIDEO)

Lowell Sun, December 1, 2016

"It's unfortunate and sad that there's about 100 kids we can't provide access to. "There needs to be innovative thinking on a lot of levels to provide access across the state," [Greater Lowell Superintendent Roger Bourgeois] added. MassBudget reported that while a career, vocational and technical education costs about $5,000 per pupil more than a traditional high school education each year, good programs can boost college attendance and career earning power.

Attleboro area legislators say House staff raises warranted

Sun Chronicle, December 1, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said he thought the staff raises were "reasonable," and matched what he has seen in the private sector. The center's 2016 "State of Working Massachusetts" paper for general wage/income trends concluded that after decades of wage stagnation for many working people, wages rose across the income spectrum, both in Massachusetts and nationally from 2014 to 2015. "Paying people a reasonable salary is important to attract good people to do important work," Berger said

Lawmakers could tap emergency fund for pot regulation

Boston Globe, December 1, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, has, for years, chastised the Legislature for spending money from nonrecurring sources such as the rainy day fund. But he agreed Rosenberg’s idea is “not an unreasonable thing to do.” Berger said Massachusetts faces “a classic situation where it’s very important you set up a regulatory agency before the activity begins, but that creates a real cashflow issue. The most essential thing is being transparent so it’s clear to the public and the ratings agencies what’s happening and why.”

Instead of charter schools, fund voke ed

Andover Townsman, December 1, 2016

“The high performance of Massachusetts’ economy is due largely to our highly skilled and well-educated workforce,” said Noah Berger, president of MassBudget, which released a study on the issue last week. “Well-designed vocational education programs can provide students with high-quality academic and vocational education, including hands-on learning, to prepare those students for fulfilling lives and careers.”

Our view: Charter foes should get behind vocational schools

Glouchester Times, November 29, 2016

MassBudget, in its report “Skills For Our Future,” estimates that it would cost tens of millions a year to handle the current unmet demand for high school vocational education. Vocational programs tend to cost more than standard high school programs. The budget group estimates each spot in a vocational school cost $13,200 last year, as compared to $8,700 in traditional high schools

Popularity of vocational schools outstrips availability in Massachusetts

Sun Chronicle, November 29, 2016

Last year, the school received 400 applications for 300 slots in its incoming freshman class, Superintendent Stephen Dockray said, with 50 students eventually ending up on a waiting list. Those students make up just a small fraction of the 3,200 students statewide currently on wait lists for admission to public vocational and technical schools, according to a new study by the Mass Budget and Policy Center.

Coalition plans push for $15 minimum wage in Mass.

Boston Globe, November 29, 2016

Nearly a third of the state’s workforce makes less than $15 an hour, according to the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Fighting for a $15 minimum wage: It;s Time to Raise Up All of Massachusetts Workers

Commonwealth, November 29, 2016

A recent report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center found that increasing the state minimum wage to $15 by 2021 would raise the wages of roughly 947,000 workers, or 29 percent of our workforce. 91 percent of workers who would be affected are over 20 years old, 56 percent are woman, and 57 percent work full-time.

Group Begins Push For $15 Minimum Wage In Mass.

WBUR, November 29, 2016

Raise Up cited an August report from the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 would boost the wages of about 947,000 workers, or 29 percent of the state workforce.

Our view: Charter foes should get behind vocational schools

Salem News, November 29, 2016

MassBudget, in its report “Skills For Our Future,” estimates that it would cost tens of millions a year to handle the current unmet demand for high school vocational education. Vocational programs tend to cost more than standard high school programs. The budget group estimates each spot in a vocational school cost $13,200 last year, as compared to $8,700 in traditional high schools.

Pay Raises Are Coming to the State

Boston Magazine (blog), November 28, 2016

...Noah Berger of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says “paying people a reasonable salary is important to attract good people to do important work.”

Vocational education: high cost, high demand

Worcester Business Journal, November 28, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, in a paper titled "Skills For Our Future," reported that while a career, vocational and technical education (CVTE) costs about $5,000 per pupil more than a traditional high school education each year, good CVTE programs can boost college attendance and career earning power.

On Beacon Hill: Hundreds of Worcester students languish on waitlist as report calls for $27M to fill vocational education spending gap

Worcester Sun Chronicle, November 26, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, in a paper titled “Skills For Our Future,” reported that while a career, vocational and technical education (CVTE) costs about $5,000 per pupil more than a traditional high school education each year, good CVTE programs can boost college attendance and career earning power.

Report: High demand, high cost for vocational education

Taunton Daily Gazette, November 25, 2016

"The high performance of Massachusetts' economy is due largely to our highly skilled and well-educated workforce," Noah Berger, president of MassBudget, said. "Well-designed vocational education programs can provide students with high quality academic and vocational education, including hands-on learning, to prepare those students for fulfilling lives and careers."

Report: Meeting state need for vocational education would cost $27M

MassLive, November 25, 2016

Massachusetts has around 5,400 students who are unable to get into vocational schools because of waiting lists or because of a lack of schools in their community, according to a report released Friday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Demand high in Massachusetts for vocational education

Enterprise, November 25, 2016

Though more students have enrolled in vocational and technical programs in the last 10 years, MassBudget said the demand far outpaces the availability of programs, with a disproportionate share of the demand coming from the state's Gateway Cities.

3,200 students on vocational education wait lists

Boston Globe, November 25, 2016

“There’s a lot of evidence that vocational schools are effective and are a good investment,” Berger said. “This is definitely one of the things we should be thinking about, in addition to smaller class sizes, early education, and other reforms that have proven effective.”

High Demand, High Cost for Vocational Education

Herald News (Fall River), November 25, 2016

MassBudget said actual per-pupil spending for regional vocational schools in the 2014-2015 school year averaged $19,800, or $5,000 greater than the $14,800 average actual per-pupil spending statewide.

Report sees need for expanded vocational education in Mass.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, November 25, 2016

In addition to commending Worcester Tech’s partnerships with local companies, which provide mentoring and internship opportunities to its students, the report points out the school “has also strengthened its emphasis on traditional academics in recent years, almost doubling the number of students taking advanced placement (AP) course work.” Worcester Tech is also currently the city’s only high school with a level 1 ranking on the state’s 1-to-5, MCAS-score based accountability scale.

Legislative staffers to get raise as state worker layoffs loom

Herald, November 24, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said he felt the House raises were “reasonable,” and matched what he’s seen in the private sector. “Paying people a reasonable salary is important to attract good people to do important work,” he said.

Funds have long followed students from Brockton to charter schools

The Enterprise, November 6, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says the fiscal 2015 budget covered only 69 percent of charter reimbursements, while the fiscal 2016 budget covered 63 percent of reimbursement formula spending.

$15 hourly minimum wage approved for home care workers

WWLP-22News, November 2, 2016

"A report out last month from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy center said a minimum wage hike to $15-dollars per hour would impact 92-thousand people here in western Massachusetts."

Springfield school officials at odds with state over budget cuts blamed on lower reimbursement for charter schools

Springfield Republican, October 31, 2016

The public school system provides "tuition" funds to the charter schools for each student enrolled in a local charter school, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Thus, the funding follows the students.The tuition payments are "roughly equal to average per pupil spending in the sending district," according to the center.

What Research Says About Mass. Charter Cap Debate: From Graduation Rates to School Funding

The 74, October 20, 2016

As a report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center put it, “Districts often can’t recoup the full per pupil cost of a departing student. Students going to charter schools are usually sprinkled across classrooms and schools, so even if the total number of exiting students is equal to the size of a full classroom or school, it is often impractical to close them immediately.”

Lawmakers say early-retirement plan could weaken services

Berkshire Eagle, October 18, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Boston-based Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the state budget process could be improved. "Changes midyear can be a disruptive," he said. "It's hard for people who are not inside those agencies to give clear answers" about service needs. "It's best to do longer-term planning and be clear about what your objectives are," he added.

Spending cuts loom as state eyes nearly $300M hole

Politico, October 14, 2016

“The reduction is cautious and conservative and given that we’re relying on temporary revenue for the budget, it’s understandable to be cautious,” said Noah Berger of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Going into next year’s budget cycle, Berger recommended the state look closer at its budgetary spending, as well as tax breaks for businesses. MassBudget recently published a report that found special business tax breaks accounted for almost $1 billion in spending this year.

State employee layoffs could be coming to Massachusetts

The Boston Globe, October 14, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said Friday’s announcement is “less about what is happening in the economy right now, and more about problems in our state budget — that we have been relying on significant amounts of temporary revenue to keep our budget balanced.”​ ...Berger questioned whether instead of just looking at spending cuts, the administration should also consider cutting “special business tax breaks” that Berger said cost Massachusetts about a billion per year.​

Question 2 Reignites Charter Debate

Wicked Local: Hamilton, October 14, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent agency, says districts’ tuition payments make up about 90 percent of charter school funding while the remaining 10 percent is picked up by state reimbursements through Chapter 70 funds, federal grants and private donations.

Gov. Charlie Baker to make $294M in midyear budget cuts

MassLive, October 14, 2016

Berger said in addition to the underfunded accounts, Baker and the Legislature relied on things like excess capital gains tax revenue, which was supposed to go into the state's rainy day fund, and expected reversions, money left unspent at the end of the year, to balance the budget. "A lot of things that might have otherwise been tools later in the year to address budget deficiencies were used to balance the budget at the beginning of the year," Berger said.

Baker Reopening Budget To Address $295 Million Deficit

WBUR, October 14, 2016

Berger said in addition to the underfunded accounts, Baker and the Legislature relied on things like excess capital gains tax revenue, which was supposed to go into the state's rainy day fund, and expected reversions, money left unspent at the end of the year, to balance the budget. "A lot of things that might have otherwise been tools later in the year to address budget deficiencies were used to balance the budget at the beginning of the year," Berger said.

Baker administration identifies $295M budget deficit

Lowell Sun, October 14, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said he agreed with Baker's push to fund expected costs for programs such as snow and ice removal up front rather than deliberately wait until later in the year. "Each year's budget should fund the costs that you know will occur that year," he said. Berger, however, said the administration and lawmakers should look beyond simply cutting programs that have already absorbed budget reductions in recent years to tax expenditures that provide questionable value to the economy.

Mass. budget shortfall pegged at $294M

Worcester Telegram , October 14, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said he agreed with Baker's push to fund expected costs for programs such as snow and ice removal up front rather than deliberately wait until later in the year. "Each year's budget should fund the costs that you know will occur that year," he said. Berger, however, said the administration and lawmakers should look beyond simply cutting programs that have already absorbed budget reductions in recent years to tax expenditures that provide questionable value to the economy. "I think it has less to do with what's happening in the economy now and more to do with problems that have been in the budget for awhile, such as a reliance on one-time revenues and underfunded accounts. The governor is, I think, being pretty cautious by downgrading revenue assuptions, but against that backdrop I think the biggest issue is getting out of the process where we're making these mid-year cuts. The budget process should scrutinize the special business tax breaks like the state single sales factor for mutual fund companies and manufacturing that are worth a billion dollars a year and get no scrutiny."

Baker Gearing Up to Solve Latest Problem: A $295 Million Deficit

State House News Service, October 14, 2016

Berger, however, said the administration and lawmakers should look beyond simply cutting programs that have already absorbed budget reductions in recent years to tax expenditures that provide questionable value to the economy. "I think it has less to do with what's happening in the economy now and more to do with problems that have been in the budget for awhile, such as a reliance on one-time revenues and underfunded accounts. The governor is, I think, being pretty cautious by downgrading revenue assuptions, but against that backdrop I think the biggest issue is getting out of the process where we're making these mid-year cuts. The budget process should scrutinize the special business tax breaks like the state single sales factor for mutual fund companies and manufacturing that are worth a billion dollars a year and get no scrutiny."

Think tank pegs cost of business tax breaks at $1B

MassLive, October 6, 2016

"There's a fairly significant cost of special business tax breaks ... and they're not subject to nearly the kind of careful scrutiny that on-budget spending is subject to," said Noah Berger.

How much do business tax breaks cost Mass.? A cool billion, watchdog says

Boston Business Journal, October 6, 2016

Special tax breaks for businesses are costing Massachusetts nearly three times as much now as they were 20 years ago, with the amount of annual revenue lost to the incentives hitting $1 billion this fiscal year, according to a new analysis.

Question 2 Reignites Charter School Debate

Wicked Local, October 6, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent agency, says districts’ tuition payments make up about 90 percent of charter school funding while the remaining 10 percent is picked up by state reimbursements through Chapter 70 funds, federal grants and private donations.”

Public policies play critical role in combating MA’s poverty, report says

The Bay State Banner, September 23, 2016

Escaping poverty takes more than hard work. It also takes government policies. That was the gist of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s early September report on the state of workers in Massachusetts.

Minimum Wage Helps State's Lowest Paid

Huntington News, September 21, 2016

Massachusetts lowest-paid workers saw their average wages rise seven percent over the past year, according to a recently released report by Boston-based nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The annual report, called the “State of Working Massachusetts,” showed that while wages rose slightly over the past year, the change follows decades of stagnant wages. Meanwhile, poverty levels both in the state and across the United States remained high despite the modest economic growth.

Uninsured rate in Mass. reaches historic low

Becker's Hospital CFO, September 20, 2016

The rate has continued to fall as a result of several factors, Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, told The Boston Globe. One reason is the state's thriving economy and the lowest unemployment rate in 15 years. More employed people means more employer-sponsored health plans, according to Mr. Berger. Other possible reasons include higher enrollment in Medicaid or subsidized health insurance, and the expansion of MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program. Enrollment in MassHealth increased from 1.4 million in 2013 to 1.8 million in 2015, according to the report.

Higher costs only health-care constant

Lowell Sun, September 19, 2016

...[O]ur state's 3 percent uninsured rate compares to the 9.8 national rate, based on Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

LEWIS: An economy that works for everyone

Wicked Local: Melrose, September 19, 2016

As the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center pointed out in Labor Day 2015: Important Gains, Many Challenges for MA Workers, “Since the late ‘70s, wages and incomes for most working families have stagnated. By contrast, for the highest income households, incomes have grown at ten times the rate of income growth for the bottom 90 percent of the population.”

Higher costs only health-care constant

Sentinel & Enterprise, September 19, 2016

our state's 3 percent uninsured rate compares to the 9.8 percent national rate, based on Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Rate of uninsured in Mass. reaches all-time low

The Boston Globe, September 17, 2016

Massachusetts enacted its own law to make health insurance accessible to nearly everyone years before the Affordable Care Act. So why would the state rate keep falling after introduction of the federal law? Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, ...sees several likely factors. One is the state’s booming economy, with the jobless rate at its lowest in 15 years. Most people get health insurance through their jobs, so if more people have jobs, more people have insurance...

Massachusetts health care leads nation (Editorial)

The Republican, September 15, 2016

The Affordable Care Act has had its problems on a larger scale than the Bay State program did at its launch, but Noah Berger, president of MassBudget, still insists this program is far better than what it replaced. "(The) Census report shows that there are 15 million fewer people without health insurance than when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013. That is a remarkable policy accomplishment, and it started right here in Massachusetts," Berger said.

Mass. Income Growth Lagged The Nation's In 2015

WBUR (Bostonomix show), September 15, 2016

as the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center wrote Thursday, "... poverty rates remain well above pre-recession levels (2007) and median incomes remain below pre-recession peaks."

Mass. has lowest rate of uninsured residents in nation

Lowell Sun, September 14, 2016

The uninsured rate is down from 3.3 percent in 2014 and well below the national average of 9.8 percent. The uninsured rate, based on the Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, has been steadily falling since at least 2010 when it was 4.4 percent.

At 2.8 percent, Mass. uninsured rate is nation's lowest

Worcester Business Journal, September 14, 2016

Massachusetts policy leaders have largely moved on from the debate over health insurance access to focus on harnessing the growing and high costs of care, but an analysis of new Census data shows the state continues to lead the country with a 2.8 percent uninsured rate.

We're Still Number One, As Always -- New Census Data on Uninsured

A Health Blog (Health Care for All), September 13, 2016

More analysis (including great charts) are available from the Mass Budget and Policy Center.

Census Pegs Mass Uninsured Rate in 2015 at 2.8 Percent

State House News Service, September 13, 2016

The uninsured rate is down from 3.3 percent in 2014 and well below the national average of 9.8 percent. The uninsured rate, based on the Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, has been steadily falling since at least 2010 when it was 4.4 percent.

MA Health Coverage Still Leads Country, Census Data Reveals

Beacon Hill Patch, September 13, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, ...cheered the numbers via statement Tuesday. "Today's data shows that there are 15 million fewer people without health insurance than when key provision of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013," said MassBudget President Noah Berger. "That is a remarkable policy accomplishment, and it started right here in Massachusetts. Our state led the way by creating near-universal coverage -- and a model for the nation. Today in Massachusetts 97% of our people have health insurance and the Affordable Care Act has led to the federal government providing our state with hundreds of millions in new funding for health care costs that had previously been paid for with state revenues."

Census shows Massachusetts with nation's lowest rate of uninsured at 2.8 perecent

Fall River Herald, September 13, 2016

The uninsured rate is down from 3.3 percent in 2014 and well below the national average of 9.8 percent. The uninsured rate, based on the Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, has been steadily falling since at least 2010 when it was 4.4 percent.

Census shows Massachusetts with nation's lowest rate of uninsured at 2.8 perecent

The Enterprise, September 13, 2016

The uninsured rate is down from 3.3 percent in 2014 and well below the national average of 9.8 percent. The uninsured rate, based on the Census data analyzed by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, has been steadily falling since at least 2010 when it was 4.4 percent.

Six stories you may have missed from the world of business

The Boston Globe, September 11, 2016

More than seven years after the Great Recession, most Massachusetts workers are just starting to see a rebound in their wages. And for many, despite raises and stronger job growth, paychecks haven’t quite climbed back to their peaks, according to a report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released Monday. The average hourly wage for the vast swath of the middle class in Massachusetts was $22.25 in 2015, a nearly 3 percent increase from the year before. But adjusted for inflation, it’s still 3.2 percent behind the $22.99 workers took home at a high point in 2009. The situation isn’t much better for workers at the bottom, who enjoyed one of the biggest bumps in wages in 2015, thanks in large part to a state minimum wage increase that brought hourly earnings to $9.74. But they’re still 2.7 percent behind their earnings in 2009, when they made the equivalent of $10 an hour. Even the top 10 percent of earners in the state, who pocketed $50.69 an hour in 2015, saw their wages remain flat compared with 2009.

Quotable Quotes

The Enterprise, September 9, 2016

“A $15 minimum [wage] by 2021 would increase the incomes of 22 percent of working parents and 31 percent of all children in the state would benefit.” —Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Beacon Hill Roll Call regular weekly report

Wicked Local, September 8, 2016

“A $15 minimum [wage] by 2021 would increase the incomes of 22 percent of working parents and 31 percent of all children in the state would benefit.” --Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, on its new report.

Searching for a Democratic Candidate for Governor

The Scrum (podcast), September 8, 2016

"This budget represents another year of just barely getting by without any clear path to addressing the big challenges our Commonwealth faces, such as rebuilding our transportation infrastructure, making college affordable, and expanding access to high-quality education for all of our children."

Greatest Low-Wage Earnings Gains Came In States That Raised The Minimum Wage

Media Matters, September 6, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s (MassBudget) annual Labor Day report found that states that raised the minimum wage saw stronger low-wage earnings gains than states that did not raise wages.

Report Finds Minimum Wage Hike Helpful

Daily Hampshire Gazette, September 6, 2016

Massachusetts’ lowest-paid workers saw their hourly compensation rise by more than 7 percent last year following a hike in the state’s minimum wage, according to a report released on Labor Day.

How have minimum wage hikes in Massachusetts affected incomes?

The Christian Science Monitor, September 5, 2016

The average, inflation-adjusted hourly pay for the state's lowest-wage workers rose from $9.08 cents an hour to $9.74 cents an hour from 2014 to 2015, a 7.3 percent increase, according to the latest annual edition of "The State of Working Massachusetts." The report is compiled by the independent, liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Report: Minimum wage hike helped state’s lowest-paid workers

Washington Times, September 5, 2016

The average, inflation-adjusted hourly pay for the state’s lowest-wage workers rose from $9.08 cents an hour to $9.74 cents an hour from 2014 to 2015, a 7.3 percent increase, according to the latest annual edition of “The State of Working Massachusetts.” The report is compiled by the independent, liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Massachusetts Labor by the Numbers

MassLive, September 5, 2016

In celebration of Labor Day, the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released its annual look at the Massachusetts workforce.

Report: Minimum wage hike boosts lowest paid

Boston Herald, September 5, 2016

One of nine Massachusetts residents lives below the federal poverty threshold, including more than 200,000 children, according to the most recent 2014 data. Overall and child poverty levels remain lower than the U.S. as a whole. But the report also pointed to a continued strong state economy with the nation's highest median wage and best educated workforce with nearly 50 percent holding college degrees.

Report Shows Minimum Wage Means Higher Wages For Low And Middle Income Workers

New England Public Radio, September 5, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has released a report showing both low wage and middle income workers benefited from the state’s minimum wage increase.

Minimum-wage boosters make yet another pitch

Sentinel & Enterprise, September 5, 2016

"A $15 minimum (wage) by 2021 would increase the incomes of 22 percent of working parents and 31 percent of all children in the state would benefit." -- Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center,on its new report

Minimum wage hike helped Massachusetts' lowest-paid workers

Patriot Ledger, September 5, 2016

“The wage growth we see among low-wage workers who are benefiting from the minimum wage increase reminds us of how important public policy can be in improving the economic well-being of working people and their families,” said Noah Berger, president of MassBudget, in a statement accompanying the report.

Minimum-wage boosters make yet another pitch

Sentinel & Enterprise, September 5, 2016

"A $15 minimum (wage) by 2021 would increase the incomes of 22 percent of working parents and 31 percent of all children in the state would benefit."

Report: Minimum wage hike helped lowest-paid workers in Mass.

Greenfield Recorder, September 5, 2016

Massachusetts’ lowest-paid workers saw their hourly compensation rise by more than 7 percent last year following a hike in the state’s minimum wage, according to a report released on Labor Day.

Minimum wage hike helped Massachusetts' lowest-paid workers

Taunton Daily Gazette, September 5, 2016

The average, inflation-adjusted hourly pay for the state’s lowest-wage workers rose from $9.08 cents an hour to $9.74 cents an hour from 2014 to 2015, a 7.3 percent increase, according to the latest annual edition of “The State of Working Massachusetts.” The report is compiled by the independent, liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Stacked up against ’09 wages, paychecks smaller

The Boston Globe, September 4, 2016

More than seven years after the Great Recession, most Massachusetts workers are just starting to see a rebound in their wages. And for many, despite raises and stronger job growth, paychecks haven’t quite climbed back to their peaks, according to a report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that is scheduled to be released Monday.

Minimum Wage Will Impact 29% of Workers

22 News WWPL, September 1, 2016

The effort continues to raise the state’s minimum wage. A new report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy center said if Massachusetts raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, it could increase wages for 29% of workers.

New Lowell charter debunks the myths

Lowell Sun, August 26, 2016

According to the Mass Budget and Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group, "The vast majority of (charter) funding -- about 90 percent in FY 2015 -- comes from tuition payments paid by the sending district that a student otherwise would have attended. ... Tuition amounts are set each year by a state formula."

The Case for Public Health, in 18 Charts

Huffington Post, August 25, 2016

Returning to Massachusetts, we have seen government medical spending increase by 81 percent over the past decade and a half. Unfortunately, as we have spent more money on medical care, we have spent less on the larger determinants of health such as education, early childhood care, the environment, and even public health.

Some immigrants lament license laws

MetroWest Daily News, August 20, 2016

According to some advocates, such a law would bring in millions of dollars in registry fees. If 60 percent of undocumented adults were able to obtain their licenses, it would result in an additional $7.2 million, according to massbudget.org.

Why Boston Doesn't Have Universal Preschool Yet

WBUR, August 18, 2016

The cost? Statewide, estimates the independent nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, universal pre-K would cost $1.4 billion.

Some keeping wary eye on Mass. economy

South Cost Today, August 7, 2016

Noah Berger, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, points to volatility in the stock market as a likely culprit. “In FY '16, we saw the effects of overly optimistic revenue projections that didn’t account properly for the declines in the stock market in the prior year,” he said. “I think, going forward, the new revenue estimates look reasonable.” ...Additionally, Berger points to decade-and-a-half-old tax cuts as another contributing factor to the state’s budget issues. In the past 15 years, every governor has entered office and left office with the state facing budget shortfalls, he said. “Since then, we’ve had ongoing budget problems and made deep cuts to education, local aid, higher education and other areas,” Berger said. “I think the deep tax cuts are the biggest factor. Massachusetts, like other states, also faced growing healthcare costs, and that puts pressure on the budget as well.”

UMass coalition fights tuition hike

Boston Herald, July 31, 2016

Students and professors argue the problem is a systemic underfunding of higher education in Massachusetts while costs rise. They pointed to a 2013 report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that says Massachusetts cut higher education by 31 percent compared with a national average of 10 percent between 2001 and 2013.

Public education needs public support

Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 26, 2016

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, state spending on higher education in Massachusetts dropped by 25 percent between fiscal years 2001 and 2014, which were, in turn, made up by commensurate increases in student tuition and fee payments.

Don’t let the earned income tax deal die on Beacon Hill

The Boston Globe, July 26, 2016

What’s more, there are already 20 other states with taxes for short-term rentals, either statewide or locally. The short-term rentals tax is expected to bring in an estimated $20 million, according to the state Department of Revenue

The End of Tuition

The Boston Globe, July 26, 2016

Here in Massachusetts, a study by the Budget and Policy Center shows that free higher education at all public colleges and universities could be implemented at a cost of $631 million a year.

Report Weighs Benefits of Applying Hotel Tax to Airbnb Rentals

WGBH, July 22, 2016

A report issued today by the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (better known as MassBudget) could bolster the case for changing the state’s tax on hotels to include Airbnb rentals.

Report Finds Stagnant Wages For Most New Bedford Workers

WBSM Radio (New Bedford), July 21, 2016

The study by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center entitled “Income Growth and Gateway Cities:What Happened, and Is There a Path Back to Broadly Shared Prosperity?” found that wages for low-income workers has remained mostly static despite economic growth.

Report: Lowell lagging in household income

Lowell Sun, July 20, 2016

But a report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says the city's average paychecks haven't kept up with similar cities, the state or a nationwide increase over the last several decades in worker productivity. The issues are not unique to Lowell.

Between the Lines: A Rebar River Runs Through It

Valley Advocate, July 19, 2016

But funding for keeping the state clean had been on a decline even before then. The state’s budget for environmental protection, which includes the DEP, is 29 percent less than it was in 2001, according to a study by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Qualified, and jobless: Many businesses reluctant to commit to high-paid workers

The Sun Chronicle, July 18, 2016

"Right now, you still have a very soft labor market with very little significant wage growth at all levels," said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. "And, that impacts the number and variety of job opportunities, as well."

Report: Income Inequality Especially Painful for Brockton Workers

The Enterprise, July 17, 2016

MassBudget released a study this week concluding that gains in overall income have been heavily concentrated among the wealthiest households in Massachusetts since 1979. ...The MassBudget study said that Brockton’s median household income rose just 4 percent since 1979, after adjusting for inflation.

From the School Committee: An eye on state funding

Barnstable Patriot, July 15, 2016

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, K-12 education was spared from major reductions in FY17. However, that does not mean that our schools are sufficiently funded...

Worcester Incomes Fall Far Behind the Rest of Massachusetts

GoLocal Worcester, July 15, 2016

The study, which details city by city Census data on income stagnation, reveals that in six cities, median income in 2012 was below 1979 levels, in inflation-adjusted terms. In underscoring the widening income gap in Massachusetts, the MassBudget report pinpoints the need for clear policy solutions to address wage stagnation.

Analysis Explores Impact, Cost of Senate EITC Plan

State House News Service, July 14, 2016

The Senate is expected Thursday to consider an expansion of the earned income tax credit ...benefiting 415,000 families by about $300 in taxes per year according to the committee. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reported Wednesday that the expansion would have in 2016 boosted the maximum state credit available to a family with three or more children from $1,442 to $1,755. A family with two children would have received $1,560 rather than $1,282 and other eligible families would have seen "meaningful increases." The EITC expansion is expected to cost about $47 million a year, MassBudget said.

The Airbnb tax is too good for the state to pass up

The Boston Globe, July 14, 2016

The tax would generate about $16.7 million a year and would be used to expand the EITC, which cuts tax bills for families with an annual household income of under $53,000. That amounts to giving back as much as an extra $313 per filer, according to analysis by the left-leaning research group MassBudget....With those two changes, MassBudget estimates the expanded EITC would cost the state an extra $38 million a year.

State Run Down 7/14

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July 14, 2016

They would partially pay for the improved credit by applying the state's 5.7 percent hotel tax to short-term rentals, most notably those via Airbnb. For more information, check out the Massachusetts Budget Project's brief.

Study: Malden household incomes stagnant

Wicked Local Malden, July 13, 2016

Incomes of typical households in Malden have barely grown, while the economy has grown significantly since 1979, according to a new study by MassBudget, a non-partisan public policy research organization.

The income-growth challenge in Gateway Cities

Commonwealth, July 12, 2016

Commonwealth magazine ran a version of MassBudget's recent report in their print edition.

Report: Income growth in Attleboro lags behind the rest of the state

Sun Chronicle (Lowell), July 12, 2016

Income growth in Attleboro and other medium-size Massachusetts cities continues to lag... according to a new report... Before 1979, the report said, wages in low-, medium- and high-income households had been rising at about the same rate. But since that time, a smaller share of economic gains has gone to low-income households.If median income had increased at the same rate as income overall since 1979, the report calculated, Attleboro's median income would now be $89,000, instead of $63,000.

Senate proposes taxing Air Bnb to raise Earned Income Tax Credit in Massachusetts

MassLive, July 12, 2016

"There's a lot of evidence that raising the Earned Income Tax Credit is a very effective way to help low wage working people," Berger said. Berger said increasing the tax credit raises the wages of working parents and has positive long-term effects on the health and education of children in those families. Berger said his group believes it makes sense to require anyone renting out a room to abide by the same rules.

Social Darwinism for the mentally ill

The Boston Globe, July 10, 2016

Rather than rethink its tax system for a dawning age of the Internet and yawning inequality, the state cut taxes on dividends, interest, and ordinary income during the dot-com era. Noah Berger, executive director of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says cuts like those add up to $3 billion in lost revenue a year.

Charter opponents say budget shortchanges public schools

Lowell Sun, July 7, 2016

The fiscal 2017 budget on the governor's desk covers less than 60 percent of formula, according to the group, while the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says the fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016 budgets covered only 69 percent and 63 percent of the formula spending respectively.

Budget watchdog warns of ‘precarious financial position’

Boston Globe, June 30, 2016

...Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, also issued a note of caution about the spending plan approved by the Legislature. It said several areas, such as housing for homeless families, public defenders, and sheriffs, “are funded significantly below the levels of known costs.” Noah Berger, the group’s president, said that means the Legislature will probably have to supplement those areas with new money in coming months. “These funding levels don’t appear to reflect an expectation of lower costs,” he said, “but rather a decision to postpone funding until later in the year.”

Lawmakers Slap Together On-Time Budget with Limited New $$$

State House News, June 29, 2016

"This budget represents another year of just barely getting by without any clear path to addressing the big challenges our Commonwealth faces, such as rebuilding our transportation infrastructure, making college affordable, and expanding access to high-quality education for all of our children. Our Commonwealth could get those big things done, but it would likely require reforming our tax system so that our highest income residents would no longer pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than middle income residents pay," Berger said.

Dukakis: End tax 'loopholes'

State House News Service, June 28, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center... offers some proposals that would provide a "fairer tax system" and "not hit the average taxpayer," the former governor said.

As market fears grow, worries over Mass. budget

The Boston Globe, June 24, 2016

“The Brexit clearly adds another element of uncertainty to our economic future,” said Noah Berger... “It’s an important reason to be cautions, but the reality is: We don’t yet know what the long-term effects on the national or world economy are going to be,” Berger said.

State Income Gap Rises

Newburyport News, June 23, 2016

Noah Berger, the Budget and Policy Center’s director, said about 82 percent of income growth since the recession has gone to the state’s top-earners, while most everyone else’s incomes have remained flat. Taxes, he said, tip the scales even more. Top earners pay proportionally less in state and local taxes, the report noted, once sales and property taxes are counted in addition to the state’s flat income tax.

Massachusetts' Great Budget Debate

WGBH Greater Boston , June 21, 2016

Noah Berger appeared on WGBH's studio news show to discuss the current budget shortfall, how it occurred and the long-term causes that have made these revenue shortfalls an ongoing feature of budgeting in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts places second in national child welfare rankings

MassLive, June 21, 2016

The report "shows that Massachusetts has made much more progress towards this goal than most other states - but there is still a long way to go," said Noah Berger, president of MassBudget,...

New Report: Economic Growth Bypasses Bay State's "99 Percent"

Public News Service, June 20, 2016

People whose incomes are in the bottom 99 percent of Commonwealth residents are falling way behind the top 1 percent, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Radio Interview with Noah Berger

WRKO Financial Exchange, June 20, 2016

Budget panel convenes, With 20 days to agree on nearly $40 bil budget

Daily News of Newburyport, June 10, 2016

A Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analysis found the budget totals are within 0.1 percent of each other, with no more than half of a percent difference in "every major category," including education and health care.

Policy expert to talk funding at Gerena School meeting; public urged to attend

The Republican (MassLive), June 9, 2016

The meeting, which is open to the public, will feature a discussion with policy analyst Colin Jones from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center."He is going to break down what the future of Gerena is in terms of what the costs would be realistically for a new school," Robles said. Jones will also be sharing information on school funding across Massachusetts, how the budget works locally, and how to achieve educational success for all children in Springfield, Robles added.

No rush for $15 wage in Mass.

MetroWest Daily News, June 4, 2016

But 2014 statistics from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center show that 85 percent of minimum wage workers are twenty 20 years or older. Noah Berger, the president of MassBudget who supports a minimum wage increase, said fair earnings are important for any worker, whether they are full-time or not. “Even if you have a two-parent household where one parent is working 40 hours a week and the other is working 20 hours a week at a minimum wage job, those wages are important for the ability of that family to make ends meet,” Berger said. “The idea that there is one primary breadwinner in a family is not in line with how families work today.” ...But Berger said a higher minimum wage could funnel more money into the economy. An increase to $15 would increase wages for about 30 percent of the Massachusetts workforce, thereby increasing workers’ purchasing power. Berger also said higher wages tend to reduce turnover rates, so employers may see reduced training costs and more productive, long-term workers.

Mass. faces $311 million shortfall

Boston Globe, June 3, 2016

“At this point in the year, it’s hard to close a gap,” said Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “But there are tools — freezing spending wherever possible, finding savings when the number of people qualifying for specific programs is below projections, and there’s also the possibility of using reserves, as a last resort.”

So You Want To Be A Millionaire? Can You Pay The Freight?

WGBH, May 29, 2016

...Except that income tax isn’t the only way the state collects taxes. There’s also, say, the sales tax and the gas tax. Noah Berger, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says that when you add these altogether, our tax system is actually regressive. "Most people pay, altogether, about nine-and-a-half percent of their income in taxes," he explained. "The highest income one percent of taxpayers pay about six-and-a-half percent, so we have a tax system that is adding to the inequality that we have." ...Berger says that from what he’s seen in other states, fears that millionaires or businesses would flee the Bay State in any appreciable number are, perhaps, overblown. "Even though California has a top tax rate of 13%, there are still businesses in Silicon Valley – the economy in California is pretty strong. New York has comparable tax rates to this there are still plenty of millionaires in Manhattan," he said.

Councilor O'Brien's proposed budget cuts get shot down in Braintree

Wicked Local, May 25, 2016

"According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 9c cuts are under the governor's authority but are solely to cut funding in parts of the government that are under his control,"

Senators seek bigger tax break for low-wage workers

Gloucester Times, May 23, 2016

Increasing the [earned income tax] credit will go a long way in cities such as Lawrence and Salem, where large numbers of filers claim it. The 14,890 Lawrence residents who claimed the credit for 2013 represent the largest portion of tax filers — 42 percent — of any community, according to the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. In Haverhill, 4,834 filers took the credit that year. So did 3,646 in Methuen; 3,156 in Salem; 2,675 in Peabody; 1,751 in Gloucester; 1,668 in Beverly; and 510 in Newburyport, according to the center.

State budget bill draws mixed reaction

Worcester Business Journal, May 18, 2016

Budget cuts hinder environmental protection efforts in Massachusetts

Wicked Local, May 15, 2016

The state’s current $95.7 million annual budget for environmental oversight – including the environmental department and its parent agency – is 29 percent less than it was in 2001 after adjusting for inflation, according to the non-partisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Governor Charlie Baker has proposed a further 10 percent cut in the year ending in June 2017.

Lepore's Budget Tools Don't Include Rainy Day Funds, $$ Cuts, Layoffs

State House News Service, May 6, 2016

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger, who regularly monitors state finances and the budget, said April's revenue figures reflected poor stock market performance in the past. "This may not be an indication of the future of our economy, but it is an important warning that budget writers need to be very careful in not assuming that we're going to have an end-of-year surplus," he said. Baker's team needs to monitor both spending and revenues carefully and look at potential reversions and non-tax revenues, but Berger added, "I don't think that one month alone creates a crisis."

New Promise for Rhode Island's College Students

Rhode Island Monthly, May 6, 2016

“When states look for quick fixes, they weaken the economy in the long-term,” says Noah Berger, study co-author and president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “The correlation is very strong: States that have educated workforces have stronger and higher-wage economies than those that don’t.”

Why Massachusetts should take better care of moms

Boston Business Journal, May 6, 2016

When it comes to new moms taking time off work to care for a new or adopted child, Massachusetts is behind the pack, according to an analysis of family leave policies done by MassBudget.

Tax cuts that continue to haunt Mass

Boston Globe - Op-Ed, February 12, 2013

Tax policy debates are about how we pay for the things we do together for our communities, our families, and our economy. Working together through government allows us to accomplish things that are vital to us as a Commonwealth and that we can't do alone...About 15 years ago, at the height of the dot-com bubble, our state made tax policy choices that have shaped state policy ever since...The state enacted a series of cuts to the income tax that are now costing us close to $3 billion a year. We cut the tax rate on most income from 5.95 percent to 5.3 percent, costing over $1.5 billion. We cut the tax rate on dividends and interest from 12 percent to 5.3 percent, costing about $850 million. We increased the personal deduction to $4,400, costing $550 million.

Look at what the state is doing right

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, January 23, 2011

WITH THE governor scheduled to file his budget proposal for the coming year on Wednesday, and the Commonwealth facing a budget gap of close to $2 billion, knowing that our government provides services as efficiently as possible will be more important than ever.