Phineas Baxandall

Senior Analyst & Advocacy Director

Phineas Baxandall is a Senior Analyst & Advocacy Director at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, focusing his research on transportation and tax revenue, as well as unemployment and EITC. He also serves as strategist and point person on MassBudget’s advocacy efforts.

Before joining MassBudget, Phineas directed the Transportation and Tax & Budget programs for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and its network of 30 state affiliate organizations.

Prior to his work with U.S. PIRG, Phineas was Assistant Director at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was a teaching fellow for eight years at Harvard’s Committee for Degrees in Social Studies, where he lectured on social policy and political economy. He has published on a variety of topics in political economy and public policy, and his 2004 book, Constructing Unemployment, was recently republished by Routledge press.

Phineas earned a Ph.D. from MIT in Political Science and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Recent

The Myth of the One-Year Middle Class Millionaire

“One-time” occurrences of $1 million income are relatively rare overall, and in fact much rarer for the middle-class. It is far more common for tax filers who exceed $1 million in annual income to do so year over year. An examination of available data suggests that when a middle-class taxpayer sells their small business or home, they would be highly unlikely to have a taxable income over $1 million, the point at which additional income would be subject to the new proposed tax under ballot Question 1 (Fair Share).

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Even Among Retirees with High Wealth, Few Will Pay the Fair Share Tax

The proposed “millionaire tax” only applies to the portion of a taxpayer’s annual taxable income over $1 million. For many retirees, much of their income is not subject to the income tax and therefore not subject to an additional tax on income over $1 million. And wealth, such as personal savings and investments, are not subject to the income tax. Even when wealth is sold to generate additional financial gains, this income is often tax-exempt or shielded by widely used deductions.

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A Bridge Too Far: Sagging Investment Leaves 644 Massachusetts Bridges Structurally Deficient

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation maintains a database tracking 7,880 bridges across the Commonwealth. This paper examines the condition of these bridges and the impact of bridge disrepair on communities. It analyzes how some regions and populations are harmed more than others, and how these problems could be helped by investing more public resources in transportation.

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