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Publications from before 2018
More than 104,000 teens (16- to 19-year-olds) work and actively contribute to the Massachusetts economy. As working teens, they learn job skills and gain experience and responsibility. Many working teens also play important roles in helping meet financial needs for not only their families but also for themselves, like paying for college. This brief looks at who teen workers are, their contributions to family income, how a sub-minimum wage could affect teen workers, and whether there have been adverse effects on teen employment from minimum wage increases.
This Budget Monitor describes the funding decisions in each major section of the state budget for Fiscal Year 2018. It includes the vetoes and overrides as well as supplementary funding since the Legislature’s budget. The document compares these current FY 2018 funding levels with final FY 2017 levels and, in some cases, historic funding.
Massachusetts policy since 2002 has emphasized English immersion as the primary approach to educating English Language Learners. A balanced review of the research reveals, however, that there is generally more evidence supporting bilingual programs. The evidence also suggests that the most important factor for helping ELL students to succeed is the quality of the programs offered.
Phasing in an increase of the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 would boost the incomes of 29 percent of the Massachusetts workforce. This report analyzes the effect of such an increase across 52 regions in the state, finding that at least 15 percent of workers in every region of Massachusetts would see their wages rise, and in some regions more than 40 percent of wage earners would benefit.
Examines new Census data on children’s poverty and health coverage for 2016, and trends in Massachusetts and the nation.
An examination of new Census data on incomes and poverty in 2016. The Massachusetts poverty rate is nearing its pre-recession level, with only seven states presently having lower rates. This brief also examines Supplemental Poverty Measures, which show how much particular programs have reduced the poverty rate.
This report examines the data on the current availability of paid family and medical leave (PFML) in New England, as well as how mothers are often the primary or sole source of income in a family with children. It looks at other outcomes in states with PFML laws, including the lengths of leaves taken and the effects on wages.
New data from the U.S. Census show the results of commitments made by Massachusetts and the nation to improving health care security for our people. The rates of health coverage have increased steadily since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2006.
Massachusetts’ taxes are about average for the United States. Where then does the label ‘Taxachusetts’ come from? The answer has much more to do with history than reality.
This fact sheets examines where Massachusetts ranks compared to other states in terms of the level of state and local taxation in 2015, the most recent year for which data is currently available.
Our annual report with sections analyzing jobs, wages, income, education trends, and the strength of the Massachusetts economy. Among the findings, Massachusetts’ labor force has grown faster than any other state in 2017 – increasing 3.2 percent. Massachusetts has added close to 300,000 jobs since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, representing 9 percent job growth – among the highest rates of job growth in the country over that time. While our economy is growing, job gains are still not translating into strong, broad-based wage growth, though gains have been made over the past two years among low-income workers.
There has been a widening gap between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those without, especially among the highest-paid 10 percent of workers with bachelor’s degrees. The report shows that states where a higher portion of the workforce holds a college degree also have higher median wages — a pattern mirrored in differences between cities within Massachusetts as well. The ever-strengthening link between education and wages has benefited Massachusetts, where the share of workers with bachelor’s degrees increased more than in any other state from 1979 to 2016. Last year (2016) became the first state ever in which a majority of the labor force held a four-year degree.
At this point, the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) state budget looks a lot like the FY 2017 budget. After adjusting for inflation, the proposed spending amount falls below FY 2017 levels and we see essentially status-quo funding levels in each major category. One major area of the budget remains in limbo: MassHealth.
The Legislature enacted a Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) budget that assumes less revenue will be available than initially projected and accordingly provides less in funding than the budgets approved by both the House and Senate. This overview provide a brief summary of significant elements of the budget.
Economic Conditions of Families Better Than in Most States; At Risk From Proposed Federal Budget Cuts
Massachusetts ranks 13th for the economic well-being of children in the national KIDS COUNT rankings of the states, but continued progress could be at risk if Massachusetts loses federal funding that has been crucial to some of Massachusetts’ successes. Cuts to federally-funded poverty reduction programs such as SNAP (“food stamps”), cash assistance (TANF), housing assistance, as well as other cuts proposed in the President’s budget to employment and economic development programs could limit access to income support programs, could limit families’ access to meaningful work, and could create budget challenges at the state level. Together, these circumstances could have a measurable impact on children’s economic well-being.
Massachusetts ranks 1st in education in the national KIDS COUNT rankings of the states. Recent victories and future progress could be at risk if Massachusetts loses funding from the federal government that has been crucial to Massachusetts’ successes. A large portion of the $2.5 billion in federal grant money that comes to Massachusetts outside of the state budget supports education. The President’s proposed budget that cuts federal funding could affect Massachusetts’ ability to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth grows up ready and able to learn, and that our classrooms are able to provide high-quality education on the road to college and success in life.
For Families Raising Children in Challenging Circumstances Federal Budget Cuts Could Make Conditions Worse
Massachusetts ranks 7th in family and community conditions for children in the national KIDS COUNT rankings of the states. Recent victories and future progress could be at risk if Massachusetts loses federal funding that has been crucial to Massachusetts for building strong and healthy family communities and shaping our children’s physical and social environments.
Massachusetts ranks 2nd for health in the national KIDS COUNT rankings of the states. But health care achievements and future progress could be at risk if Massachusetts loses funding from the federal government that has been crucial to Massachusetts’ successes. The federal government provides critical funding for health insurance, as well as for a wide range of public and behavioral health programs. More than $10.4 billion of the state’s $44.6 billion budget comes from the federal government to help pay for health care. These funds provide essential health insurance, nutritional support for pregnant mothers and babies, crucial prevention and treatment for substance use disorders, and other protections to keep children healthy. Proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, dramatic cuts to Medicaid, and other proposals in the President’s budget could cut several billion dollars from the state budget within several years, and could profoundly affect Massachusetts’ ability to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth grows up healthy.
Recent state and federal tax reform debates have highlighted the taxation of S-corporations (S-corps). Like other “pass-through” entities, S-corps are not required to pay the corporate income tax, and instead their owners pay personal income taxes on the profits of the corporation after costs have been deducted. In Massachusetts, some owners of pass-through entities like S-corps have voiced concerns about the fact that a proposed additional four percentage point tax on incomes over one million dollars a year would include very high-income owners of pass-through businesses. The fact sheet reviews how these entities are taxed in Massachusetts and other states with higher rates for very high income earners. Based on national data, over 98 percent of owners of S-corps and other pass through entities would not be affected by this reform.
With a Conference Committee of three Representatives and three Senators meeting on Monday to meld the proposals of the two branches into a final budget to present to the Governor, we are entering the final stages of the annual budget debate. The House and Senate proposals have a lot in common, but also significant differences that will need to be worked out. MassBudget’s new Budget Monitor describes the major amendments adopted during the Senate budget debate and examines the differences between the House and Senate proposals.
Since Medicaid is a partnership between state and federal governments, much of this essential health care coverage is actually paid for by the federal government. The Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes approximately $16.6 billion for MassHealth. This total (or gross amount) is approximately 37 percent of total state budget appropriations. The federal government then reimburses Massachusetts for more than half of this spending. After receiving these reimbursements, the state’s net cost for MassHealth is $8.0 billion, 24 percent of the total net budget.
Like the proposals from the Governor and the House, the Senate Ways and Means Committee budget for Fiscal Year 2018 would generally maintain existing service levels while making small targeted new investments in several areas, particularly in education. The Budget Monitor examines proposals for major state programs in detail.
New Study Finds High Quality Career and Technical Education Can Significantly Improve Student Outcomes
It is no longer news that students who attend high-quality career and technical education programs in Massachusetts also perform well academically and are more likely to graduate from high school. This policy brief summarizes new academic research suggesting that these impressive outcomes are due to what takes place inside these schools, not merely differences in the backgrounds and motivations of students who enter the programs.
The House largely followed the recommendations of its Ways and Means Committee in crafting its budget proposal, adopting amendments to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget that increased funding by just under two tenths of one percent from the levels its budget committee proposed last month. This Budget Monitor describes the changes adopted by the House in each major section of the budget.
This fact sheet examines the extent to which the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and transit agencies across the state rely on federal sources of revenue for their operations and capital investment. It describes the federal grants that are most vulnerable to near-term budget cuts and how larger sums of federal transportation funding could face cuts after 2020.
This Budget Monitor examines the House Ways and Means Committee’s state budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017. The proposal would generally maintain existing service levels while making small targeted new investments in several areas including housing, education, and substance abuse prevention and treatment.These relatively small investments to important programs will have significant benefits, but like the Governor's proposal and the budgets of recent years, it does not propose significant new funding to make progress on some of the big challenges our Commonwealth faces.
As Massachusetts schools move beyond strict zero tolerance discipline policies, the report examines how school districts could implement reforms that reduce student suspensions and foster a positive learning environment. The analysis estimates how much it might cost to implement these reforms in Massachusetts school districts.
Partnership in Peril: Federal Funding at Risk for State Programs Relied on by Massachusetts Residents
This paper examines the major federal funding sources that the state uses to provide access to affordable health care, help children thrive, assist low-income families, and care for veterans. In addition to describing the sources of federal funding, we examine the policy changes Congress is likely to consider that could threaten this funding and the services the funding supports. This fiscal year, one of every four dollars that supports the state’s budget comes from the federal government 2–close to $11 billion in federal funds.
The Governor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget includes proposals that strengthen the capacity of the MassHealth program to meet the healthcare needs of people in Massachusetts and address fiscal challenges caused by a decline in employer-provided health insurance coverage for private sector employees. As with past budget proposals, the Governor’s FY 2018 budget does not propose significant new funding to make progress on some of the big challenges our Commonwealth faces. But as this detailed examination of the Governor’s budget proposals for major state programs shows, the health care strategies are the major reasons the Governor is able to propose a budget that significantly reduces reliance on temporary revenue and savings to achieve balance.
Over the last 40 years, as productivity has increased steadily and we have created more value per hour worked, that growth has not translated into greater economic security for working people and their families. If the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity growth since 1968 it would be over $18 an hour today – twice its current level in Massachusetts.