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 Monique Ching at 617-426-1228, x112 or mching@massbudget.org

In The News

Analysis: For Mass. High-Earners, Tax Law's Cuts Will More Than Make Up For New SALT Cap

WBUR, January 12, 2018

For Massachusetts' highest-income households, tax cuts in the recent Republican overhaul will more than make up for the plan's new cap on state and local tax deductions, according to an analysis out Thursday. Among its provisions, the law signed by President Trump late last year established a $10,000 limit on the deductibility of those state and local taxes (SALT) -- a cap that's drawn much attention, especially in states with relatively high taxes and housing costs. But the new analysis — from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a group that mostly studies issues affecting low- and moderate-income people — finds that for households in the state earning more than $1 million a year, "the average tax cuts from other federal changes in the law are more than twice the average size of the impact from the loss of SALT deductibility."

State leaders are facing trickiest budget cycle in recent years

Boston Globe, January 11, 2018

Beacon Hill leaders, who in recent years have overestimated how much cash from taxes Massachusetts will bring in, are now facing their trickiest budget cycle since the Great Recession. Beyond the normal unpredictability of the economy, State House number-crunchers must sort through far more fiscal question marks than usual as they calculate how much money there will be to fund government programs — and how to spend it — in the fiscal year that starts July 1. These variables include the outcome of separate ballot questions raising income taxes on the very wealthy and lowering the sales tax for everyone; the Justice Department’s threat to crack down on Massachusetts’ fledgling marijuana industry, which could choke off a new source of tax revenue; pressure from Wall Street for the state to sock away more money in its rainy day fund; and uncertainty about federal dollars that have in past years helped state programs such as health insurance for the poor.

State tax breaks to film industry totaled nearly $100M last year

Boston Business Journal, January 11, 2018

Massachusetts paid more than twice as much through its film tax incentive program last fiscal year than it did through its two other main tax-credit programs that together cover every industry in the state, according to the commonwealth’s annual financial statement. In fiscal 2017, the state lost an estimated $91 million in tax breaks to the film industry. The program, which has come under fire in recent years as a waste of money, is designed to lure film productions to Massachusetts by giving filmmakers breaks on payroll, sales and other taxes. The credits have been used by such movies as "Ghostbusters" and "Black Mass."

Sluggish growth in sales tax revenue is hurting the T, says report

Boston Business Journal, January 10, 2018

A new study from the nonprofit MassBudget identifies a surprising side effect of a shift in spending habits over the past two decades toward items without sales tax: less funding than anticipated for the MBTA.

Report: Sales Tax has not been MBTA Lifeline, as Envisioned

State House News Service, January 10, 2018

The MBTA's share of sales tax revenues has fallen short of original projections and failed to deliver the stable funding source lawmakers envisioned when they overhauled the agency's finances in 2000, according to a new report.

Letter to the Editor: The $15 minimum wage will help all — including teens

Boston Globe, January 4, 2018

The president of the Massachusettts AFL-CIO writes in a letter to the editor: "...according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, following two years of Massachusetts minimum wage increases, teen unemployment remains at its lowest rate in 18 years. As the article notes, the study also finds that many teen workers contribute to their family budget, since their parents are employed in low-wage jobs as well. Those very budgets will become further stretched if heads of household are passed over for younger, cheaper workers."

Raising Minimum Wage Helps Teens, Their Families

Public News Service, January 4, 2018

"While teens are only 12 percent of minimum wage workers in the state, Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says for many, it would mean a boost for their entire family. 'Those 12 percent who are teenagers, their income is an important part, very often, of their family income, of being able to help their family to pay for basic necessities,' he points out. The study found that working teens in families with total earnings below $47,000 a year bring in almost 18 percent of the family income."

Getting on the Ballot: What we’ll be Voting on in 2018

Valley Advocate, January 2, 2018

"While many food service and retail workers would be affected by the minimum wage increase, they are not the only ones. Erin Wilson is a servicing representative for UAW local 2322 who said that the narrative that all minimum wage workers are teenagers is a myth. A report released by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center last week showed that teens only represent 10 percent of the workforce who would benefit from the minimum wage increase. Her local represents many different kinds of workplaces, including many in the mental health and behavioral health fields. 'The state just does not fund mental health the way they should,' Wilson said. 'It doesn’t reflect a minimum wage and it doesn’t reflect the quality of work they’re doing.'"

Schools still recovering from cuts

Lowell Sun, January 1, 2018

"In Fiscal Year 2007, before the brunt of the recession hit, the Massachusetts Legislature altered the way the state calculates aid for public schools -- known as Chapter 70 aid. Those 2007 reforms aimed to increase funding for schools through several smaller steps, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. But as the recession hit, those reforms -- which were planned to be phased in over five years -- were slowed down, and didn't take effect as they were supposed to. Chapter 70 aid was actually cut 'across the board' from 2009 to 2011, according to MassBudget. And in FY 2010, the state calculated education funding using a lower inflation factor than required by state law, MassBudget said, meaning public schools got less money than usual. The federal government had to step in and provide stimulus provisions to protect some districts."

Low-wage workers in 18 states getting New Year’s raise, but nothing for MA workers

Sampan, December 27, 2017

"Increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2022 would raise the wages of roughly 943,000 workers, or 29 percent of the state’s workforce, according to a report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 90 percent of workers who would be affected are 20 years old or older, 56 percent are women, and 55 percent work full-time. Workers who are paid low wages include professions like nursing assistants, childcare providers and paramedics."

$15 minimum wage could have big impact on teens

Boston Globe, December 26, 2017

Teens who work — and live in households with roughly $47,000 or less in annual income — account for nearly 18 percent of their families’ total income. In addition to allowing lower-income teens to contribute more to their families financially, a bigger paycheck would allow college students to work less, study more, and ultimately be more successful.

Despite Higher Minimum Wage, Teen Unemployment In Mass. Is At An 18-Year Low

WBUR, December 26, 2017

"A higher minimum wage hasn't led to a drop off in teen employment, according to a study out Tuesday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center... Mass. Budget also found teenagers in low-income families contribute a significant share of the family's income — almost 18 percent for families earning less than $47,000 a year. That's more than double the average contribution for all families in Massachusetts."

Report: Massachusetts minimum wage hike could help teens

MassLive.com, December 26, 2017

"Among the findings: If the minimum wage is increased to $15 by 2022, 89 percent of working teens would get a raise. Teenagers make up about 10 percent of workers who would get a raise under the proposed increase. Teenagers in Massachusetts contribute, on average, 7.4 percent of their family's wages, with teens making up a larger percentage of household income in lower-income families."

Report: Minimum Wage Hikes Have Little Effect on Teen Jobs

State House News Service, December 26, 2017

MassBudget senior policy analyst Nicole Rodriguez on the findings of "little to no effect" on teen employment from minimum wage increases, and the importance of teen wages to low-income households: "Teen employment rises when the economy is strong, and falls when it is weak. We found that, following two years of minimum wage increases in Massachusetts, teen unemployment was at its lowest in 18 years. While minimum wage increases don't have a large effect on employment, they do have a significant effect on the wages and incomes of teens and their families."

Question remains: How will GOP tax bill shake out for county programs over long haul?

Berkshire Eagle, December 20, 2017

MassBudget president Noah Berger on the impact of the 2017 GOP tax bill on Berkshire County: "Most of the benefit goes to high-income individuals and corporations, and that's going to be paid for with cuts that could, in fact, be things like health care and education and transportation — things that are important in Berkshire County. There is some evidence that the long-term way to build a strong economy is to invest in people. That means education and infrastructure and transportation, and this tax cut makes it harder for the federal government to do that."

Present calm on Massachusetts budget front may be short lived

State House News Service, December 18, 2017

MassBudget concluded the Massachusetts fiscal year 2018 budget includes $750 million in temporary revenue and underfunded accounts. “This makes it highly likely that the state will continue to face serious fiscal challenges next year,” the group said.

How The GOP Tax Bill Could Affect Massachusetts Residents

WBUR Radio Boston, December 18, 2017

MassBudget president Noah Berger on the Republican federal tax bill: "The most important thing about the federal tax bill is that it costs somewhere between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion, and that's $1.5 trillion that will likely have to be cut out of things that matter to people in Massachusetts. If the federal government has $1.5 trillion to spend, it could have chosen to spend that money on things like education or transportation or expanding access to health care. Instead it looks like we're doing the opposite. We have a tax package that overwhelmingly gives the benefits to corporations and to very high-income folks. Eventually that's going to need to be paid for, and it will probably be paid for -- and the Congress is saying this already -- but trying to cut Medicaid, by potentially cutting funding for education and food stamps, and potentially cutting things like transportation infrastructure and research funding that are really important to the Massachuestts economy."

John L. Bissell and Caitlin Pemble: Support State Initiative to Assure Universal Pre-K

Berkshire Eagle, December 1, 2017

This op-ed by two Berkshire County business leaders calls for expanding access to pre-kindergarten and cites a MassBudget report that found "both short- and long-term benefits of high-quality pre-k, particularly for families living in poverty."

WBUR Poll: 3 State Ballot Initiatives Enjoy Overwhelming Support

WBUR, November 15, 2017

MassBudget President Noah Berger notes the importance of new revenue for Massachusetts to invest in education and transportation, amid new polling showing overwhelming support for the Fair Share Amendment. "With the budget crisis we've had year after year, the state hasn't been able to make those kinds of long-term investments that could make a real positive difference in people's lives and in the future of our economy -- things like making higher education more affordable, expanding access to high-quality early education, and improving our K through 12 schools," Berger said. "A new revenue source ought to be able to help us to address those long-term challenges and long-term challenges in our transportation system."

Tax plan: What’s the impact in the Berkshires?

Berkshire Eagle, November 12, 2017

MassBudget president Noah Berger on impacts of the 2017 House GOP tax plan in Massachusetts and the Berkshires: "'This is going to lead to deep cuts in Medicaid, higher education funding and research, and other important things for the state economy overall,' said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. 'The health care cuts would affect people's lives, definitely, in the Berkshires,' Berger added, noting that not only does the area's older population require more medical attention, but Berkshire County's leading industry is health care."

Experts worry GOP tax plan would hurt some in Massachusetts

Wicked Local, November 3, 2017

The November 2017 House GOP tax plan "would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, worries that could lead to 'deep budget cuts to things that are important to Massachusetts.' Congress could cut funding for health care, education, or scientific research, Berger said. 'Those are things that are crucial to the Massachusetts economy and to the qualify of life in our state.'"

Springfield School Committee, saying city has been underfunded by millions of dollars, wants charter school reimbursement increase

Springfield Republican, October 6, 2017

The funding of charter schools comes primarily from tuition payments paid by the "sending school district" that a student otherwise would have attended, according to a summary by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget). The state funds per student go to the charter school rather than the public school budget, officials said. "Tuition payments are roughly equal to average per pupil spending," MassBudget stated. MassBudget is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide nonpartisan research and analysis of state budget and tax policies. "For many years, the state reimbursed districts for the full amount determined by the charter reimbursement formula," MassBudget stated. "But reimbursement levels are subject to annual appropriations, and in recent years the Legislature has not appropriated sufficient funding to provide sending districts with 100 percent of the reimbursements as determined by the formula."

How a small change cost Brockton’s schools big bucks

Brockton Enterprise, October 3, 2017

Cites MassBudget work on how low-income K-12 students are counted and the negative impact of the new methodology for doing so on state funding for Brockton's schools.

Understanding Trump's Tax Overhaul Plan

WBUR: Radio Boston, September 27, 2017

MassBudget president Noah Berger joins Radio Boston to talk about President Trump's tax plan.

$15 Minimum Wage Press Conference

Neighborhood Network News, September 19, 2017

Interviews MassBudget President, Noah Berger on the economic effects of a higher minimum wage.

How US states are fighting inequality with a “millionaire tax”

New Statesman, September 17, 2017

Though opponents of the Massachusetts proposal warn of tax flight, this phenomenon has not occurred elsewhere. As Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, observed: “We just have not seen… the kind of mass migration of millionaires that people keep predicting.”

Can Amazon deliver what Boston needs?

Boston Globe, September 15, 2017

Massachusetts spends about $1 billion of taxpayer money every year on an array of special tax breaks and incentives for businesses, says Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonpartisan policy research organization. Most of those deals, he says, “have been in place for a long time, and there’s no evidence that they work. Is this the best way we could spend $1 billion, or is it better spent on education infrastructure, improving communities outside the Boston area, or transportation?” On that last topic, Berger adds, “There’s no reason we shouldn’t have a world-class public transportation system and well-maintained roads.”

What An Average Household Makes In Massachusetts

Patch, September 15, 2017

After adjusting for inflation, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reported that wages climbed 5.8 percent in the past year, second only to the 6.3 percent growth in Idaho. "It's good news that incomes are up and poverty is down. But too many families in our state are still struggling," the group said in its analysis. "The state median wage remains below where it was in 2009, and more than one in eight children in our state live in poverty. The progress our state has made should encourage us to continue to work to expand opportunity and to help working families to become more economically secure."

Mass. Household Income Jumped Nearly 6 Percent In 2016

WBUR Bostonomix, September 14, 2017

On Thursday afternoon, for instance, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reported that last year's 'surge' in income growth means the state's median household income is just now above the pre-recession peak of 2008.

Despite gains in Massachusetts, poverty still a reality for 686,000 residents

Salem News, September 14, 2017

After adjusting for inflation, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reported that medium income climbed 5.8 percent in the past year, second only to the 6.3 percent growth in Idaho. "It's good news that incomes are up and poverty is down. But too many families in our state are still struggling," the group said in its analysis. "The state median wage remains below where it was in 2009, and more than one in eight children in our state live in poverty. The progress our state has made should encourage us to continue to work to expand opportunity and to help working families to become more economically secure."

Minimum Wage Hike, Sales Tax Cut Could Be On 2018 Massachusetts Ballot

WAMC Radio , September 11, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning research group, said raising taxes on the wealthy is the best opportunity the state has to raise the money needed to improve schools and transportation. "It does it in a way that improves the overall fairness of our tax system," said Berger.

PUSHING THE EDGE: Back to school with xcitement and anxiety

Wicked Local, September 9, 2017

You may have read half of all workers in Massachusetts held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, marking this the first time any U.S. state has reached that educational threshold, according to a report released last week by the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The same analysis points to a growing wage gap in the state. College-educated workers earn on average nearly double the wages of those in the labor force with only a high school education.

Massachusetts Has the Nation's Most Educated Workforce

NECN, September 6, 2017

MassBudget President Noah Berger appeared on NECN's nightly business show to discuss the importance of Massachusetts' educated workforce, the increasing ranks of its labor force, and the lack of wage gains for most Massachusetts workers.

​Five things you need to know today, and they will, they will rock you

Boston Business Journal, September 5, 2017

The labor force in Massachusetts this year has grown faster than in any state in the nation and employers here have added nearly 300,000 jobs since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, but wages haven’t followed suit, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's Labor Day report.

Admin: ‘Free community college’ doesn’t equate to affordability

Wicked Local, September 5, 2017

The nonprofit Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center released a report in 2015 that projected it would cost $127.2 million in additional net annual funding to eliminate tuition and mandatory fees for all in-state students currently enrolled at community colleges. ...“I think right now in the current budget context it would be very difficult, but in the next year there will be debate on a proposal to add money for transportation and education,” [Noah] Berger said. “I think it’s hard to see how the state could make significant new investments in higher education without a new revenue source.”

In Mass., jobs abound but wages lag

Boston Globe, September 4, 2017

Massachusetts has largely recovered the jobs it lost during the Great Recession, according to a report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a research group in Boston. But for most workers, that economic growth hasn’t translated into increased wages — with the notable exception of the top 1 percent of earners, whose incomes have grown faster in Massachusetts in recent decades than in any other state in the nation.

Report: Mass Wage Growth Lags Despite Strong Job, Labor Market

State House News Service, September 4, 2017

The labor force in Massachusetts this year has grown faster than in any state in the nation and employers here have added nearly 300,000 jobs since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, but wage stagnation means the favorable trends have not translated into significantly more income for most workers and families, according to a new report. Median household income in Massachusetts has grown only half a percentage point each year, after adjusting for inflation, since 1979, but has risen about 4.3 percent a year for the 1 percent of households with the highest incomes, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's Labor Day report.

Study: Massachusetts has fastest growing labor force in US

MassLive, September 4, 2017

The Massachusetts labor force is the fastest growing in the country, according to a study released Monday by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The labor force has grown 3.2 percent so far in 2017, according to the study, the largest growth rate among all the states. Nationally, the labor force has grown by 0.5 percent so far this year.

Report: Mass. wage growth lags despite strong job, labor market

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, September 4, 2017

The labor force in Massachusetts this year has grown faster than in any state in the nation and employers here have added nearly 300,000 jobs since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, but wage stagnation means the favorable trends have not translated into significantly more income for most workers and families, according to a new report.

http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/09/04/mass-labor-report

WBUR News, September 4, 2017

The labor pool in Massachusetts is growing faster this year than in any other state in the country. But at the same time, the incomes of the state's top one percent of earners is growing the fastest nationwide, while median-income growth is unchanged. Those are the conclusions of a new report issued by the nonpartisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. MassBudget President Noah Berger joined Morning Edition to review the report's findings.

Report: State's wage growth lags despite strong job, labor market

Gloucester Times, September 4, 2017

“This growing inequality is part of what is known as the ‘Great Decoupling’ — the period, beginning in the 1970s, when growth in wages and income for most workers began to flatten even while productivity continued to increase,” the State of Working Massachusetts report said.

Healey: Mass. Must be head of class on tuition crisis

Boston Herald, September 1, 2017

The share of graduates from public, four-year colleges in Massachusetts who have student loans increased from 54 percent in 2001 to 75 percent in 2014, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The average student debt in the state, the center adds, has also grown 55 percent since 2001, from $18,782 to $29,038. The debt load climbed even as the state has cut higher education spending by 15.3 percent since 2001 in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the budget center reports.

Quotable Quotes

Beacon Hill Roll Call, September 1, 2017

“Massachusetts has added another chapter to its history as the nation’s leader in education, becoming the first state ever with 50 percent of its workforce holding a bachelor’s degree.”

Editorial: Labor Day, education and robots

Worcester Sun, August 30, 2017

In his recent paper “Education and State Economic Strength: A Snapshot of Current Data,” Jeremy Thompson, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, writes, “The emergence of a knowledge-based economy over the past several decades has led to a widening gap between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those without.”

College Affordability Program Expanded After Only 100 Enroll

State House News Service, August 28, 2017

Last week, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a report showing that the median wage for a Massachusetts worker with a bachelor's degree was 99 percent higher in 2016 than the median wage of a high school graduate, up from 49 percent in 1979. The report said public higher education enrollment has gone up while total state funding has declined, leading to a 31 percent drop in per-student spending since 2001, as adjusted for inflation. MassBudget suggested increased state support for community colleges, public four-year colleges and the UMass system could make it easier for more Bay State workers to earn degrees.

Our Opinion: Rosy state workforce stats a mixed blessing

Berkshire Eagle, August 25, 2017

Massachusetts residents have good reason to strut in the wake of news that the Bay State's workforce is the first-ever in the nation to contain a majority of bachelor's degree holders. The report from the non-profit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, however, also reveals that underlying the good news are other statistics that it would be well for the state to heed and address.

Report: Conn. among top states for labor force with bachelor's degrees

News Times (Connecticut), August 25, 2017

In Massachusetts, 50.2 percent of individuals participating in the state's labor force had attained at minimum a four-year degree from a college or university in 2016. The next highest states were New Jersey (45.2 percent), New York (43.7 percent), Maryland (43 percent) and Connecticut (42.7 percent), according to the CPS data. The U.S. average was 35.5 percent in 2016.

Report says link between education and pay strengthens

Worcester Business Journal, August 24, 2017

Half of the workers who comprise the Massachusetts workforce hold at least a bachelor's degree, the first time any state has surpassed the 50 percent threshold, and the wage gap between workers with degrees and those without continues to widen, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Report: Half of state's labor force holds bachelor's degrees

Boston Herald, August 23, 2017

Half of all workers in Massachusetts held a bachelor's degree or higher in 2016, marking the first time any U.S. state has reached that educational threshold, according to a report released Wednesday by the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The same analysis points to a growing wage chasm in the state, with the college-educated earning on average 99 percent — or nearly double — the wages of those in the labor force with only a high school education.

More than half of Mass. workers have bachelor’s degrees

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, August 23, 2017

Due for release Wednesday, the MassBudget report found that the median wage in 1979 for a Massachusetts worker with a bachelor’s degree was 49 percent higher than the median wage of a worker who did not attend college. As of 2016, the “college wage premium” had increased to 99 percent, according to the report. Nationally, the premium was 84 percent in 2015, MassBudget said. The nonprofit think tank said the median hourly wage for a Massachusetts worker with a high school diploma is $15.12, citing data from the Economic Policy Institute, while the median hourly wage for a worker with a bachelor’s degree or higher is $30.11.

Mass. grades out as most educated state in US

Boston Globe, August 23, 2017

In Massachusetts, a mecca of higher education, half of the workforce has a bachelor’s degree, making the state both the first to reach the 50 percent threshold and the most educated in the nation, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

More than half the state’s workforce now has a bachelor’s degree, study says

Boston Business Journal, August 23, 2017

The study by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows that wages for those with college degrees has grown much faster that pay for those with only a high school degree or who never finished an undergraduate degree.

Report: Half of state’s labor force holds bachelor’s degrees

Washington Post, August 23, 2017

The findings were consistent with previous data consistently showing Massachusetts to be among the most educated states in the nation, with an economy heavily reliant on the presence of a highly-skilled workforce. But the authors noted a downside as well, as workers without a college education continue to fall further behind in wages while the expense of attaining those badly-needed degrees gets steeper for those with limited financial resources.

Report: Half of state’s labor force holds bachelor’s degrees

Associated Press, August 23, 2017

Half of all workers in Massachusetts held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, marking the first time any U.S. state has reached that threshold, according to a report being released Wednesday by the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Report: Half of state’s labor force holds bachelor’s degrees

New England Cable News (NECN), August 23, 2017

The same analysis by the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows that college-educated workers on average earn 99 percent - or nearly double - the wages of those in the labor force with only a high school education.

Massachusetts has most educated workforce in nation, new report finds

MassLive, August 23, 2017

In Massachusetts, 50.2 percent of individuals participating in the state's labor force had attained bachelor's degrees or higher in 2016. The next highest states were New Jersey (45.2 percent), New York (43.7 percent), Maryland (43 percent) and Connecticut (42.7 percent), according to the CPS data. The U.S. average was 35.5 percent in 2016.

Smart money in Massachusetts

Daily Download, August 23, 2017

The report is a glass overflowing/ glass losing water offering. Massachusetts' thought-driven economy is requiring a more educated workforce and businesses seem willing to pay for it. The average college-educated worker earns $30.11 per hour compared to $15.12 for those without a higher education background. The study says there's a premium regardless of how much time one spends in the hallowed halls, whether it's a year or two, earning an Associate's Degree, or getting the full four-year sheepskin. ...But that educated workforce has come with some costs, the biggest of which is the expanding income inequality chasm. It also has triggered more student debt as the increase in student loans with the rising cost of tuition combined with stagnant government aid to both students and schools has left graduates unable to move out of their parents' homes or contribute to the economy the way their parents did.

Massachusetts has highest educated workforce in the country: Report

Metro, August 23, 2017

The growing cost of college is holding people back, according to the report, and only increasing that wage divide as earnings stay stagnant for those without a four-year degree. “Expanding access to higher education can benefit both individual students and the overall state economy, as workers with a college degree earn more than those without,” the report reads. “But the cost of attending college has been increasing steadily, and more students are taking on ever-increasing debt to pay those costs.”

Link Between Education and Pay Growing Stronger in Mass., Report Finds

Salem News, August 23, 2017

"While it may seem obvious in 2017 that higher levels of college education would be associated with higher earnings at the state level, this relationship is actually a fairly recent feature of the U.S. economy," MassBudget wrote in its report. "In 1979, the correlation between educational attainment of a state's workforce and its median hourly wage was weak." That relatively new trend is especially evident in Massachusetts, MassBudget said, since the state saw a greater increase in the share of its labor force with at least a bachelor's degree than any other state since 1979. In 1979, 20 percent of the Massachusetts workforce had a bachelor's degree or higher and in 2016 that share had grown to 50.2 percent, MassBudget said.

Report: Half of State's Labor Force Holds Bachelor's Degrees

U.S. News and World Report, August 23, 2017

Half of all workers in Massachusetts held a bachelor's degree or higher in 2016, marking the first time any U.S. state has reached that educational threshold, according to a report released Wednesday by the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Could free community college come to Massachusetts?

Milford Daily News, August 11, 2017

The nonprofit Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center released a report in 2015 that projected it would cost $127.2 million in additional net annual funding to eliminate tuition and mandatory fees for all in-state students currently enrolled at community colleges. That figure is in addition to the $192 million in existing grants, aid and public sources of student support already in place.

Could free community college come to Massachusetts?

Patriot Ledger, August 11, 2017

Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center, admits that under the current cycle of tight state budgets, it would be unlikely for a free community college proposal to gain serious traction. That could change, however, depending on the fate of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would charge a 4 percent surtax on incomes in excess of $1 million, earmarking the additional revenue for transportation and education. “I think right now in the current budget context it would be very difficult, but in the next year there will be debate on a proposal to add money for transportation and education,” Berger said. “I think it’s hard to see how the state could make significant new investments in higher education without a new revenue source.”

Retailers group to propose ballot questions on sales tax

Miami Herald (AP), August 1, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the retailers should explain to voters how they would make up for the lost revenue or cut the state budget if voters lower the tax. "This proposal is simply to provide a tax cut with no clarity as to where the money would come from," said Berger.

As I See It: Ending income inequality in Massachusetts

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, July 28, 2017

...a gradual increase to a $15 an hour minimum wage that would bring a pay raise for nearly 1 million workers here, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Fox pushes absurd claim that Trump’s election boosted economy by $4 trillion

Media Matters, July 21, 2017

Minimum wage increases have been found to correlate with significant gains to low-income earnings, as the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) reported on September 5, and 19 states increased their minimum wages at the beginning of the year:

Charter school's 'clerical error' leaves Pelham Elementary School $67,000 short; officials seek state help

MassLive, July 19, 2017

The Pelham Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.... argued the state has "not fully funded charter school reimbursements for sending districts." The letter cited numbers from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center showing that reimbursements were underfunded by $35.3 million in fiscal 2015 and $47.1 million in 2016.

Baker gives Legislature summer assignment: MassHealth reform

Greenfield Reporter, July 18, 2017

Noah Berger, the president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the budget, without changes to the tax code that could generate more revenue for state government, ultimately fails to move the needle in areas like education and transportation. “I think this ultimately is a budget much more about we’re not able to do, what we can’t do, than a budget about, perhaps, what we could do as a commonwealth,” Berger said. “The budget doesn’t protect higher ed students from tuition and fee increases, doesn’t make the kinds of investments in education that would really expand opportunity and doesn’t make the kind of investments in our transportation system that cold really fix our subways and buses and roads and bridges.”

Baker signs budget, whittles out $320 million

Salem News, July 17, 2017

Revenue gaps forced lawmakers to abandon major initiatives they'd proposed in earlier versions of the budget, said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. "This budget won't protect (University of Massachusetts) students from tuition and fee increases, it doesn't make the kinds of major investments in education that could significantly expand opportunity, and it doesn't provide the funding it would take to fix our transportation systems," Berger said in a statement.

Baker signs budget, whittles out $320 million

Gloucester Times, July 17, 2017

University of Massachusetts raises tuition and fees 3%

Milford Daily News, July 17, 2017

“The budget signed by the Governor today - and the vetoes he made - are again much more about what we as a Commonwealth can’t do or won’t do than what we could do,” Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning MassBudget, said in a statement. “This budget won’t protect UMass students from tuition and fee increases, it doesn’t make the kinds of major investments in education that could significantly expand opportunity, and it doesn’t provide the funding it would take to fix our transportation systems. Meeting those challenges would require correcting fundamental flaws in our tax system, such as that our highest income residents currently pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes.”

Employers can Help with Student Debt

Commonwealth, July 16, 2017

According to a December 2016 report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the Commonwealth has cut higher education spending by 14 percent since the 2001 fiscal year, which translated into a 31 percent cut in spending per student. To no one’s surprise, tuition and fees rose as a result and many families turned to student loans to fill the gap.

Pelham Elementary faces ‘devastating’ impact from budget shortfall

Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 14, 2017

Lawmakers, however, have since 2012 failed to appropriate full funding for charter reimbursements, which were underfunded by $35.3 million in fiscal 2015 and $47.1 million in fiscal 2016, according to the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Because of the dip in appropriations, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been funding the first year of net tuition increase but not the remaining years, Pelham School Committee Chairwoman Cara Castenson said.

Bill could give students 1 year of free public college in Massachusetts

WWLP-22 News, July 13, 2017

States with more college-educated workers have stronger, higher-wage economies, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. But for many low-income residents, this opportunity to access higher-wage jobs and move out of poverty remains out of reach.

Legislature sends overdue $40.2 billion state budget to Baker

Wicked Local , July 12, 2017

“The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts,” Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, stated. “Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest-income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes.”

Proposal for free community college to get hearing on Beacon Hill

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, July 10, 2017

Sen. Michael O. Moore, [said] it could be a nine-figure proposition to carry out his Senate Bill 2088, a refiling of his original 2015 legislation that would make the state responsible for paying the tuition and fees of Massachusetts students attending its community colleges. Specifically, a report on the topic published by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center two years ago estimated the state would take on around $127 million per year to make community college free to in-state students.

Massachusetts OKs compromise $40.2 billion budget

Portland Press Herald, July 8, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the revenue shortfall forced lawmakers to abandon some initiatives they had proposed in earlier versions of the spending plan. “Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure,” Berger said in a statement.

Lawmakers approve compromise $40.2 billion state budget

News Tribune, July 7, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the revenue shortfall forced lawmakers to abandon some initiatives they had proposed in earlier versions of the spending plan. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure," Berger said in a statement.

NH candidate makes pitch to Mass. millionaires

Newburyport Daily News, July 7, 2017

A Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analysis found state tax rates have "only a minimal impact on interstate migration," and millionaires are often "less mobile" than households in lower income groups. The analysis projects the millionaire population in Massachusetts would drop by 0.6 percent if the question passed, for a loss of $16 million in direct annual income tax revenue and a net gain of $1.88 billion from the new surtax.

Mass. Budget: House, Senate Rush $40B Bill To Gov.

Patch, July 7, 2017

"The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts," Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes."

House, Senate Approve $40.2B Mass. Budget

New England Cable News (NECN), July 7, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the revenue shortfall forced lawmakers to abandon some initiatives they had proposed in earlier versions of the spending plan. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure," Berger said in a statement.

Mass. budget accord reached, negotiators slash spending

Boston Business Journal, July 7, 2017

"The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts," Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes."

House, Senate Approve $40.2B Mass. Budget

NBC News Boston, July 7, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the revenue shortfall forced lawmakers to abandon some initiatives they had proposed in earlier versions of the spending plan. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure," Berger said in a statement.

Mass. budget accord reached, negotiators slash spending

Lowell Sun, July 7, 2017

"The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts," Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes."

House, Senate pass overdue $40.2B budget, local aid levels maintained

Berkshire Eagle, July 7, 2017

"The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts," Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes."

House, Senate, Rush Overdue $40.2 Billion Budget to Baker

State House News Service, July 7, 2017

"The projected revenue shortfalls forced the Legislature to abandon some of the modest investments their earlier budgets had sought and led to even greater reliance on temporary measures to balance accounts," Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure. Doing that would require fixing flaws in our tax system that allow the highest income residents of the state to pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes."

Lawmakers approve compromise $40.2 billion state budget

Lexington Herald Leader, July 7, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the revenue shortfall forced lawmakers to abandon some initiatives they had proposed in earlier versions of the spending plan. "Unfortunately, this budget does not even begin to make the kind of major long-term investments that would improve our economy and quality of life by expanding educational opportunity for all of our young people and enhancing our failing infrastructure," Berger said in a statement.

Beautiful Homes, Lower Taxes Await Mass Millionaires, N.H. Gov Candidate Says

State House News Service, July 6, 2017

A Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analysis found state tax rates have "only a minimal impact on interstate migration," and millionaires are often "less mobile" than households in lower income groups. The analysis projects the millionaire population in Massachusetts would drop by 0.6 percent if the question passed, for a loss of $16 million in direct annual income tax revenue and a net gain of $1.88 billion from the new surtax.

Trump's budget encounters strong Mass. backlash

Lowell Sun, June 23, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said the president's budget would also shift the cost of $100 billion in supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to states and eliminate the low-income home energy assistance program. More than 767,000 low-income resident sin Massachusetts use SNAP benefits to help pay for food, and 164,000 rely on LIHEAP to pay for winter home heating expenses.

Tax incentives for filmmaking are getting critical reviews

CBS Money Watch, June 19, 2017

"There is no reason to believe that the tax credits the state reportedly gave to the producers of this film were the most effective way to promote jobs and economic development," said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that's long called for scrapping the program.

Actors' pay focus of Massachusetts film subsidies debate

Quad City Times, June 18, 2017

"There is no reason to believe that the tax credits the state reportedly gave to the producers of this film were the most effective way to promote jobs and economic development," said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that's long called for scrapping the program.

Mass. Lawmakers Push 'Millionaire's Tax' Through To 2018 Ballot

WBUR, June 14, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, disagrees. "There are a lot of states that have tax rates of 9 percent or higher on high-income folks, and we just have not seen in those states the kind of mass migration of millionaires that people keep predicting," he said. "It just doesn't happen."

Mass is 2nd in nation for child well-being

Worcester Business Journal, June 14, 2017

Proposed federal budget cuts, if enacted, would make things more difficult for children and families, according to Mass Budget. Repealing the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion would put more than $1.1 billion at risk in Massachusetts by 2021. That, plus a proposal to turn Medicaid from an entitlement to a per-capita allotment, could cut 45 percent of federal funds for health insurance by 2026.

Baker touts state's fiscal health, despite bond rating drop

The Salem News, June 13, 2017

“It’s important for Massachusetts and all states to create structurally balanced budgets that will allow them to build up reserves,” said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “There’s a number of other ways to do it.” Berger said one way the state could boost reserves is by rolling back some tax breaks, such as the film tax credit that doles out more than $80 million a year to Hollywood production studios.

New Report Ranks Mass. in Top Three States for Child Well-Being

Public News Service, June 13, 2017

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger says it is little surprise that the Bay State comes out tops for education. "The good news is, this data shows the investments Massachusetts has made in our public schools are paying off," Berger says. "We have the best public schools in America. The danger is that with federal cuts looming, we may reduce the state's ability to provide high-quality education for all of our kids."

Surtax backers say fears of millionaires fleeing state are exaggerated

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, June 13, 2017

Citing research from Stanford University and U.S. Treasury economists, the policy center wrote that millionaires are more likely to be married, have children and own a business, all of which correlate to staying put. According to the policy center, 2.4 percent of millionaires - or about 12,000 households - move to a different state each year while among the overall population that rate is 2.9 percent.

Taxpayers’ group blasts so-called millionaire’s tax in Mass.

Boston Globe, June 12, 2017

“What does matter for building our economy is making sure we have a well-educated workforce and transportation infrastructure that works, and we do that by investing,” said Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

MTF Blasts Proposed 'Millionaire's Tax'

WAMC (Western Mass NPR), June 12, 2017

Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, sided with Raise Up Massachusetts and said studies have shown that when other states like New York raised taxes on the wealthy it did not result in a mass exodus. "The states that have strong high-wage economies are the states that have a well-educated workforce and if you can make investments to build that kind of workforce that, in the long run, is important for your economic strength," said Berger. Berger said the proposed amendment would make the Massachusetts tax system fairer. "Our highest income taxpayers actually pay the smallest percent of their income in state and local taxes," said Berger.

Median construction worker age on par with US workforce — for now

Construction Dive, June 8, 2017

Investment in vocational training curriculum for high schools is one way to regenerate the construction workforce, ... Still, such programs are often underfunded, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. In that state alone, 3,200 students are on high schools' Career/Vocational Technical Education wait-lists, per a November 2016 report from the center.

Millionaires tax goes before Legislature next week

Sun Chronicle, June 7, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center put out a paper last spring saying economic studies have found the wealthy make their decisions on where to live based on social, culture, family and weather, with taxes being a minor issue.

Analyst: Budget Writers Should Be 'Cautious' In Light Of Revenue Picture

WBUR, June 6, 2017

After several months of disappointing tax returns, Massachusetts is ending its fiscal year on an upswing. State revenue figures released Monday show the state took in $30 million more than anticipated last month — about 1.6 percent more than projected. Still, with just a month left in the fiscal year, overall revenue collections are 1.9 percent lower than projected. Noah Berger, of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, joined Morning Edition to discuss.

Anti-Poverty Tax Break Up Against State's Own Revenue Crunch

State House News Service, June 6, 2017

Had the state EITC match been set at 50 percent of the federal credit in 2016, the maximum state credit available to a family with three or more children would have been $3,135 instead of $1,442, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. For a family with two children, the maximum state credit would have been $2,786 rather than $1,282, MassBudget said.

Tax revenue rises, but state still faces budget deficit

Boston Globe, June 5, 2017

“The revenue picture is still challenging, but the May numbers are not what I would call bad news,” said Noah Berger, who has closely followed the state budget for years and is president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “It seems increasingly clear the core of the problem is related to 2016 taxes — and the forward-looking indicators are more positive.” Berger said a significant portion of the state’s fiscal hole does not appear to be the result of a souring economy, but rather the long-term fiscal challenges that persist despite the economic recovery.

EDITORIAL: Scale back Mass. film tax credit

Boston Globe, May 30, 2017

According to one study by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, cited by this page before, the film program generated about 430 jobs each year for Massachusetts residents. Those jobs paid an average of $70,000 — for which the state paid $119,000. As for new revenue, each taxpayer dollar given up generates only about 14 cents.

Critics: Trump's Budget Makes Maine's Economy, Social Problems 'Gravely Worse'

HighTechExaMiner, May 24, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said the president's budget would also shift the cost of $100 billion in supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to states and eliminate the low-income home energy assistance program.

Trump's budget encounters strong Mass. backlash

Lowell Sun, May 23, 2017

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said the president's budget would also shift the cost of $100 billion in supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to states and eliminate the low-income home energy assistance program. More than 767,000 low-income resident sin Massachusetts use SNAP benefits to help pay for food, and 164,000 rely on LIHEAP to pay for winter home heating expenses.

Millionaire’s Tax Proposal Moving Ahead in Massachusetts

Bloomberg, May 17, 2017

An April 27 report released by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit think tank, debunked claims of millionaires moving because of tax surcharges. “Extensive empirical evidence and numerous sophisticated statistical studies clearly show that only a small share of high-income households move in response to higher tax rates. As a result, ‘millionaires taxes’ predictably deliver the overwhelming majority—some 99 percent—of their expected net, new revenue,” the report said.

Senate gives nod to Baker's health care fee

Gloucester Times, May 17, 2017

“By endorsing an employer assessment to offset these costs, the budget reduces the long-term cost shift from employers to the state,” Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said Tuesday. “This reduces pressure to make painful budget cuts.”

Senate gives nod to Baker's health care fee

Eagle-Tribune, May 16, 2017

"By endorsing an employer assessment to offset these costs, the budget reduces the long-term cost shift from employers to the state," Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said Tuesday. "This reduces pressure to make painful budget cuts."

Opponents: higher ed endowment tax is unconstitutional

Worcester Business Journal, May 10, 2017

Massachusetts has cut its public higher education funding by an inflation-adjusted 14 percent since 2001 as both tuition and fees and student debt have increased, according to a report released late last year by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. According to the report, state funding per student is down $3,000 since the 2001 fiscal year, while per-student tuition and fees are up by $4,000. Meanwhile, both the portion of graduates of Massachusetts public four-year colleges with student loans and their average amount of debt has increased, the report said.

Maynard Town Meeting voters have chance to weigh in on school budget

Wicked Local, May 9, 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

Budget Expert On Why State Revenues Are Lagging

WBUR, May 9, 2017

Massachusetts taxes are not bringing in as much money as hoped, and now the state is staring down a nearly half-billion-dollar budget shortfall. To better understand what to make of the shortfall and what caused it, Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent research group, joins WBUR.

False business narrative on millionaire’s tax

Commonwealth, May 6, 2017

By one estimate, 99.4 percent of Massachusetts millionaires would continue to reside in the Bay State and pay the higher amount. ... In Massachusetts, the top 1 percent (income over $860,000 per year) has seen large gains over this period. These highest earners pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes, 6.5 percent of household income, compared to the 9.4 percent paid by the average Massachusetts household.

Talking Points

Boston Globe, May 4, 2017

The left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, meanwhile, estimates the state spends more than $1 billion annually on special business tax breaks; that number includes some broader tax policies, and not just company-specific tax credits. (But it doesn’t include grants, such as the $125 millionfor GE’s headquarters project.)

State falls short on tax revenue. Way short. Again.

Boston Globe, May 3, 2017

“The April revenue numbers are troubling,” said Noah Berger, who has followed the state budget for years and is president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “It is unclear, however, if they indicate a trend or a temporary problem,” he continued. “The income tax withholding numbers, which reflect current income, are pretty good. Revenue from 2016 tax returns, which reflects income last year, is down significantly.”

Push for minimum wage hike puts City Council in spotlight

Worcester Magazine, May 2, 2017

King cites research by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that indicates an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour would benefit nearly a million workers in the state. In Worcester, according to the MBPC, 40 percent of the workforce would be impacted by the increase.

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.

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.