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

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.”

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.

Striving for adequate education funding

Fall River Herald News, April 26, 2016

"According to the Mass Budget and Policy Center’s website, www.massbudget.org, Chapter 70 aid for each district is determined by four basic steps."

Making movies in Mass. yields jobs, local spending

Wayland Town Crier, April 22, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget Policy Center, said while there are some economic benefits created by the tax credit, the money often isn’t spent in the commonwealth. “A disproportionate share of the money leaves the state,” Berger said. “Most wages paid when movies are filmed go to out-of-state residents, largely movie stars.”

Film tax credit creates few jobs

Boston Herald, April 21, 2016

“The evidence just piles up that this is not an effec­tive economic development strategy, either by cost per job or any other measurable criteria,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “It’s increasingly clear that through this process we are not going to be able to build an industry in this state that can eventually survive without these subsidies, and that should be a goal of economic policy.”

Analysis finds temporary budget solutions 'troubliing'

Worcester Business Journal, April 19, 2016

But the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says Massachusetts is too far removed from the recession to still be relying on "temporary solutions." "This far into an economic recovery the state should not need to rely on temporary solutions to balance the budget and should be fully implementing policies to be prepared for the next downturn," center officials wrote in a detailed 35-page analysis of the House Ways and Means Committee's budget bill on Monday. The center described the use of temporary solutions as "troubling."

Some worry Massachusetts' 'rainy day' fund not hefty enough

The Berkshire Eagle, April 16, 2016

"We are putting money into the rainy day fund, and that's a good thing, but less than what our existing laws say we should be putting into our rainy day fund," said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

The Economics of Public Education in the Marketplace

Non-Profit Quarterly, April 15, 2016

"In a 2011 report, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated that the state's public schools are underfunded by at least $2 billion."

Court predicts layoffs, enviro groups also knock House budget

New Boston Post, April 14, 2016

“On the bigger picture, it doesn’t really take on the big challenges like trying to make public higher education more affordable for families in Massachusetts or fixing our roads and bridges and public transit systems, and taking on those challenges is difficult. It would require new revenue. And as long as our state tax system is structured so that our highest income resident pay less of their income in taxes than everybody else it’s hard to raise the revenue,” said Noah Berger, the MassBudget president.

House budget spends more on schools, but is smaller than Baker’s

Politico, April 13, 2016

Berger notes the House budget proposal is measured, but skimps on tackling the commonwealth’s bigger picture issues. “Like the governor’s budget, it doesn’t take on some of the big challenges, like making higher education more affordable, expanding access to early education, or fixing our roads and bridges and transit systems,” Berger said. “But that’s hard. That would require new revenue.”

House Democrats’ state budget seeks to slow spending growth

WWLP.com, April 13, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, welcomed the additional Chapter 70 funds proposed by the House but said the overall budget falls short in many areas. “It doesn’t take on the bigger challenges like trying to make higher education more affordable for families in Massachusetts, or fixing our roads and bridges and public transit systems,” said Berger.

House budget differs from Gov. Charlie Baker on education, welfare

Springfield Republican, April 13, 2016

"Overall, this budget is much more like the governor's budget than it is different from the governor's budget," said Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. "On the positive side, it provides a little more funding for local schools.... On the bigger picture, though ... it doesn't really take on some of the big challenges, like making public higher education affordable again, expanding access to early education, fixing our roads and bridges and public transit system."

What happens if GE’s jobs don’t pan out?

Boston Globe, April 10, 2016

The trick is making sure that whatever gets built with the public funds has a real public benefit, added Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. It can’t just be about what GE needs. “If what we do makes that site more attractive to people in general, then we don’t have to worry so much about what in particular GE does,” Berger said. “The danger comes if it’s too narrowly tailored to one company.”

Civil rights groups intervene in charter case

Bay State Banner, April 8, 2016

According to a Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report released this week: “Since charter schools tend to educate fewer in-district special education students and the formula doesn’t account for this difference, they often end up receiving a disproportionate share of district special education funding.“

Why Hollywood isn’t the hero for shutting down Georgia’s anti-LGBT bill

Salon, March 30, 2016

The (film tax) credit costs the state $80 million every year, according to the progressive Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

AMID CHARTER BATTLE, CITIES IN PUSH FOR MORE STATE EDUCATION AID

State House News Service, March 21, 2016

According to estimates from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Chelsea -- along with the cities of Lynn, Revere, Worcester, Everett and Brockton -- is among the municipalities where the adjustments result in the most significant drop in Chapter 70 aid from what would have been expected, though no communities are slated for Chapter 70 cuts. Research conducted by MassBudget found that the governor's proposed low-income changes increase Chapter 70 "modestly for many districts," though some districts receive less than they would have under the old methods. The center suggested that the state could carry over its old low-income percentages as a temporary stopgap while working to refine its counting of students.

Amid charter battle, cities push for more state education aid

Milford Daily News, March 21, 2016

Research conducted by MassBudget found that the governor's proposed low-income changes increase Chapter 70 "modestly for many districts," though some districts receive less than they would have under the old methods. The center suggested that the state could carry over its old low-income percentages as a temporary stopgap while working to refine its counting of students.

Ash: Corporate tax law change would boost state’s competitiveness

Channel 22 WWLP.com, March 9, 2016

“There’s no evidence that it achieved any public purpose,” MassBudget President Noah Berger told the News Service. Berger argued corporate tax structure is less of a factor in where companies locate than access to “well trained workers and good infrastructure.”

Advocates eye ‘millionaire’s tax’ for new transportation funding

Boston.com, March 9, 2016

Noah Berger, of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which analyzes state financing, estimates that if the question made the ballot and voters gave their approval, the new tax would generate upwards of $1.5 billion per year. If the funds were split evenly between transportation and education, about $750 million would go to transportation. Other estimates have suggested the amount of total revenue raised could be closer to $2 billion.

Deaf say services are lacking in Massachusetts

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, March 4, 2016

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the commission budget has decreased by about 17 percent since fiscal 2009.

Town Manager issues statement on Reading’s financial situation

Daily Times Chronicle, March 3, 2016

One significant factor limiting this revenue is the collapse of inflation adjusted state aid: since 2001 the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center cites state aid as declining by 51% in real terms.

Workers and employers win with paid leave

Boston Globe, February 26, 2016

Right now, about 40 percent of the workforce is not eligible (link to MB paper) for family and medical leave through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act because workers are employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Survey: State funding covers half the cost of homeless services

MetroWest Daily News, February 25, 2016

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the account's inflation-adjusted funding level in fiscal 2001 was $49.1 million.

Trial by the Hour: The minimum wage just went up — but the fight for a living wage is more urgent than ever

The Valley Advocate, February 24, 2016

On Jan. 1, the Massachusetts minimum wage rose from $9 to $10 an hour, and it will rise again in 2017 to $11 an hour — an increase that will affect the wages of approximately 450,000 workers in the state, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Putting families on the path to self-sufficiency

TheBostonPilot.com, February 19, 2016

In 1968, the Massachusetts minimum wage was worth $10.52 (adjusted for inflation). Today, it is $8. And over the course of a year, that difference adds up. A full-time worker earning the minimum wage today makes $5,000 a year less than a full-time minimum wage worker earned in 1968. ("What Its Worth? The Value of the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts"; Mass Budget and Policy Center).

He’s Mr. Popularity; now can Charlie Baker deliver?

Boston Globe, February 18, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, believes that much can be done to improve the performance of many state agencies, but, he says, “it’s very hard to deal with the very big challenges our state faces without additional revenue.”

In UMass budget battle, costs may be passed to students, some say

Bay State Banner, February 17, 2016

“Public graduates are also more likely to stay in Massachusetts after graduation, contributing to our economy over the long term,” asserts MassBudget’s statement. “Despite the evidence that a highly educated workforce helps strengthen our state economy, Massachusetts has cut state support for higher education by 20 percent since FY 2001, adjusting for inflation.”

State spending is under control, except for health care

Boston Globe, February 4, 2016

Uses MassBudget spending data.

Gov. Charlie Baker Rolled Out His $39.6b Budget Yesterday

Politico, January 28, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, was skeptical of the single sales factor’s benefits, citing a study by economist David Merriman which found tweaking states’ single sales factor tax systems ‘has no statistically significant impact on manufacturing employment’ in that state. "The tax break ‘looks like it will ultimately cost $67 million a year and that’s a tax break where there’s been no evidence it’s been effective in the past and there’s no reason to believe spending that much money on it in the future will be effective," Berger told reporters. "Currently, the state spends $200 million for the tax break. The change will raise the figure to $267 million, according to MassBudget’s estimates.”

Charlie Baker unveils budget; no new taxes

Boston Herald, January 28, 2016

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger slammed Baker’s proposal for a corporate tax break, called a single sales factor tax, in the otherwise “status-quo budget.” “There is no evidence that it’s been effective in the past and there’s no reason to believe that spending that much money on it in the future will be effective,” Berger said.

Governor would hold MassHealth spending increase to 5%

Boston Globe, January 28, 2016

“The big picture is that health care costs have been rising rapidly across the country for a very long time, and state programs that provide health care are affected very significantly by the overall costs,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a research organization. “That’s having an effect on the state’s bottom line.” Berger noted that the federal government reimburses about half of MassHealth spending, because it is a joint state-federal program, softening the blow on state coffers.

Baker Set to Release Fiscal 2017 Budget Bill

NECN, January 27, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, in a separate analysis, projected the gap to be $684 million.

As Baker readies budget plan, groups warn of shortfalls

The Washington Times, January 27, 2016

“It is even more unlikely that we will see a budget that will raise new revenue to fund investments in the future of our Commonwealth: like making higher education affordable again and modernizing our roads and bridges and public transportation systems,” (MassBudget) said."

Mass. facing $635 million budget gap, officials say

Boston Globe, January 27, 2016

“I think Baker is focused on running the government as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that’s a very good thing,” said Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “But I think the problem he’s going to come up against more and more is that solving some of our big problems like fixing our transportation system, making higher education more affordable, strengthening our public schools, and expanding pre-K require revenue as well as reforms.”

What’s In Gov. Baker’s Proposed Budget And What’s Left Behind

Radio Boston, January 27, 2016

Radio interview with Noah Berger

Baker says nearly $40B budget holds line on spending, taxes

Boston Herald, January 27, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the independent Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said it was largely a "status quo" budget despite some positive elements. "There are no major new efforts to expand access to early education, to make higher education more affordable, or to make new investments in fixing our transportation infrastructure," Berger said in a statement.

Baker budget’s focus is fiscal restraint: No new taxes, fees and limited spending growth

CommonWealth Magazine, January 27, 2016

Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, credited the governor with reducing the reliance on one-time revenues to balance spending, but questioned some of the governor’s priorities. “I think there are other choices in this budget. I think that when you’re spending $67 million on an expanded corporate tax break that hasn’t worked in the past that might be the first place to look in terms of finding money to invest in things like making higher education more affordable or fixing our transportation infrastructure,” Berger said.

Advocates debate millionaire tax

Bay State Banner, January 27, 2016

Representatives of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center noted that the state’s highest income households now pay a lower share of household income in taxes than other Massachusetts households, as Kaufman pointed out. MassBudget’s recent report also finds that transportation infrastructure investments create a competitive advantage over other states and regions.

Baker unveils new budget, tweak to corporate tax break calculation

Politico, January 27, 2016

“While the Governor's budget reportedly proposes paying for part of this cost by reforming the state's film tax credit, ultimately the proposal to spend $67 million to expand this tax credit should be weighed against other potential investments such as making college more affordable, expanding access to early education, improving our schools, or fixing our transportation infrastructure,”

Gov. Charlie Baker's proposed $39.5B budget shows 3.5 percent increase, but no tax or fee hikes

Springfield Republican, January 27, 2016

Noah Berger, president of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said he would like to see Baker spend more money on services like education and transportation. "A lot of it is a very much a status quo budget," Berger said. "There aren't significant new investments in things like making higher education more affordable or expanding access to early education or improving our K-12 schools or fixing our transportation system."

What Are States Going To Do To Make Higher Ed More Affordable?

Huffington Post, January 25, 2016

Moore said it would cost Massachusetts $127 million to make community college free for all students, citing a report from the nonprofit Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Milton preschool illustrates haphazard state funding

Boston Globe, January 24, 2016

“Overall, funding for early education has been basically flat over the last 10 years,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonpartisan group that tracks and analyzes the state budget. “There were some increases immediately after 2005 and cuts during the Great Recession and then some modest increases since then. But overall, we’re just about where we started.”

Baker seeks to spread tax break to all industries

Boston Business Journal, January 24, 2016

Noah Berger, the president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the disparity may be so great because manufacturers and mutual fund managers are best-positioned to take advantage of the altered tax formula. Unlike a traditional retailer, for example, they can make sales across the country without necessarily needing a physical presence in many different locations.

To woo GE, state and city painted bright picture

Boston Globe, January 15, 2016

“I haven’t seen any evidence that we needed to do that kind of package,” said Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “[But] if we’re doing infrastructure work, that’s good for our state, and GE is the beneficiary of it, that’s much more efficient than tax giveaways.”

Noah Berger of MassBudget on GE's Move to Boston

WRKO Morning Show, January 15, 2016

Noah Berger radio interview

Backed by subsidies, GE shops for real estate

Boston Globe, January 13, 2016

If city and state officials stick to underwriting related improvements, rather than giving GE a tax cut, then Boston should make out OK in the deal, said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “You don’t want to divert resources from our region’s long-term strengths,” he said. “Make investments that stay in our community.”

Massachusetts raises minimum wage in 2016

The Chelmsford Independent, January 9, 2016

The increase will affect an estimated 450,000 full-time workers, 81 percent of whom are ages 20 or older, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Basic Black: Massachusetts Economy in Black and Green

WGBH TV, January 8, 2016

Panel discussion of State of Black Massachusetts report, commissioned by the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts

Mass. Minimum Wage Rises To $10 An Hour

WBUR, January 1, 2016

By one estimate, from the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, nearly half a million workers in the state will see “modest increases in their paychecks” because of the newly raised pay floor.

Some hourly workers in Attleboro area to see boost to pay with rise in minimum wage

Attleboro Sun Chronicle, January 1, 2016

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates about 450,000 workers will benefit statewide from the higher minimum wage.

Massachusetts minimum wage increases, state income tax decreases take effect today

MassLive.com, January 1, 2016

According to the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the increase in 2016 to $10 an hour will affect 450,000 workers.

State’s minimum wage increase $1 on January 1st

WWLP.com Channel 22, December 31, 2015

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said about 450,000 workers will benefit from the hike. 23-percent are parents.

$10 minimum wage goes into effect Jan. 1 in Mass.

myfoxboston.com, December 30, 2015

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says about 450,000 workers will benefit from the latest hike. The center says about 60 percent of those workers are women and 23 percent are parents.

280,000 low-wage workers in Massachusetts to get New Year’s raise

SAMPAN, December 30, 2015

By 2017, increasing the minimum wage to $11 per hour will raise the wages of approximately 450,000 workers in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The legislation also increases wages for tipped workers to $3.75 per hour by 2017. Current law sets wages at $2.63 for tipped workers.

Twin boosts for low-income workers on Jan. 1

Boston Globe, December 28, 2015

“We still have a long way to go to make sure that everyone who works for a living can earn a living, but [an 11 percent] pay raise is pretty significant,” said Noah Berger, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

Massachusetts' hourly minimum wage to rise in 2016

Boston Herald, December 27, 2015

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says about 450,000 workers will benefit from the latest hike. The center says about 60 percent of those workers are women and 23 percent are parents.

Editorial: Budget blues linger

Boston Herald, December 21, 2015

The Boston Globe explained recently that the “massive income tax cut” approved by voters in 2000 — which has happened in tiny increments, over a decade and a half — is the single source of the state’s ongoing budget woes. The Globe cited an analysis by the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that suggests the tax rollback has “cost” the state $2 billion in revenue each year. Senate Ways and Means chairman Karen Spilka last week also cited a $2 billion figure.

Tax bills to increase in both towns

The Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle, December 17, 2015

“The overall level of taxation has declined dramatically as percentage of income in Massachusetts,” said Noah Berger, executive director of MassBudget. In Massachusetts, according to the report, state and local taxes equal 10.1 percent of total personal income, compared to a national average of 10.4 percent.

A Disingenuous Ruling on Immigration

Huffington Post, December 14, 2015

In Massachusetts, for example, an $80 fee not only covers the cost of producing a license, but also provides a tidy profit to the treasury (cites to MassBudget report on immigrant driver's licenses).

What is happening to the state’s rainy day fund?

Boston Globe, December 9, 2015

Ultimately, though, it was voters who created this budget problem and bequeathed it to politicians, by approving a ballot initiative in 2000 that set the income tax rate on a downward course from 5.95 to 5 percent. That cut continues to cost the state nearly $2 billion every year, according to an analysis from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit and left-leaning research organization.

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.