Welcome to our collection of archived content published before 2018, back to 2010. If you have any issues finding specific content or would like older content not currently posted here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publications from before 2018
Overwhelmingly, high-wage states are states with a well-educated workforce. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.
A new fact sheet, “Health Care in the FY 2014 Budget”, summarizes the budget’s impact on MassHealth (Medicaid) and other subsidized health coverage programs. The FY 2014 budget contains $13.32 billion in funding for MassHealth and other coverage programs, which represents an increase of 4.7 percent over current FY 2013 appropriations.
According to 2011 data recently released by the census bureau, state and local taxes in Massachusetts amount to 10.4% of our total income, which is slightly below the national average of 10.6%.
The House and Senate have approved a budget, which means that most of the pieces of the FY 2014 budget are now in place. Most prominent among the investments is an effort to fix and repair our state’s transportation system. Beyond that, the investments tend to be modest, and narrowly targeted.
A strong minimum wage helps ensure that Massachusetts workers earn enough to support their families, and it can also help our economy by increasing the amount of money workers have to spend at local businesses. Our new FAQ answers a range of questions about the current minimum wage, and includes some of the main findings from our recent minimum wage reports.
The Massachusetts minimum wage has failed to keep pace with changes in the cost of living over the past four decades, and it has fallen further and further behind the wage levels of higher-paid workers
Children in Massachusetts lead the nation in Educational achievement, and are at or near the top in a number of measures of Health, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book. In other areas, children in Massachusetts continue to face some significant hurdles. One in six kids under five is currently living in poverty–roughly 75,000 young children.
Twenty years ago this week, Massachusetts remade its education system to help ensure that all children across the Commonwealth would have the opportunity to thrive. “Ed Reform at Twenty” describes the new approach to education funding that anchored the 1993 law. It also discusses some of the options for future reform.
Massachusetts employers may pay a lower minimum wage to workers who regularly earn tips. This “tipped minimum wage” has not been increased for the last 14 years. Since 1968, the real value of the tipped minimum wage has fallen 58 percent, even further than the regular minimum wage.
This brief summarizes the House and Senate Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget proposals for MassHealth (Medicaid) and other subsidized health coverage programs. The House’s budget bill allocates $13.38 billion to these health care programs while the Senate bill allocates $13.45 billion. Both proposals are less than the Governor’s proposal of $13.6 billion. The House and Senate bills both reflect the significant changes to health care programs that will occur midway through the fiscal year, when central provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act take effect. This budget brief is the third in a series of FY 2014 reports describing the effect of various budget proposals on Health Care programs in Massachusetts. The briefs are produced by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in partnership with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute–and published by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI).
Last week, the Senate finalized its budget proposal for FY 2014. Our “Conference Preview” describes the major differences between the Senate budget and the House version, in order to highlight the decisions that the upcoming House-Senate Conference Committee will face.
As was true for the House, the Senate Ways & Means proposal relies on some new money to help fix and improve our Transportation system. The other investments specified in the proposal are fairly narrow–largely because they are constrained by the limited amount of available revenue.
The Senate, the House, and the Governor have each proposed to raise new revenue to support some new investments. The House and Senate proposals focus largely on transportation. The Governor’s plan raises significantly more revenue to increase funding for college scholarship and early education & care, among other things.
This brief describes the FY 2014 House proposal for MassHealth (Medicaid) and other subsidized health coverage programs. The House allocates $13.38 billion to these programs, about $221 million (1.6 percent) less than the Governor had proposed. As in the Governor’s budget, the House bill reflects the significant changes to health care programs that will occur midway through the fiscal year, when central provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act take effect. This brief is the second in a series of reports describing the effect of each budget proposal on Health Care programs in Massachusetts. The briefs are produced by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in partnership with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute–and published by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI).
Law & Public Safety programs help us keep our communities safe and our economy growing. The House budget proposal for FY 2014 would slightly reduce funding for those programs. That includes significant cuts to Indigent Defense and Shannon Grants, but also increases in other areas.
Quality Early Education & Care helps prepare kids for success in school and in life. The House budget would cut funding for Early Ed. & Care by $11 million–on top of the already-steep cuts that have been made since 2001.
To help vulnerable families, our state provides emergency shelters and also housing subsidies. The state’s multi-year “Housing First” effort has limited families’ access to shelter while modestly increasing affordable housing resources.
Most of the differences between the House budget and the Ways & Means proposal amount to small, targeted funding increases. There is some restoration of the Ways & Means cuts to Early Education & Care and Youth Empowerment programs.
Public Health helps to ensure the health and well-being of children in Massachusetts. Since 2001, overall funding for Public Health programs that support children has been cut 30%. The HWM budget includes further cuts to these programs.
The Youth Empowerment programs that we organize through our government help young people find jobs, break from cycles of violence, and build careers. The House Ways & Means budget for FY 2014 would cut funding for these programs by 50 percent.
The House Ways & Means Budget for FY 2014 | Although the House Ways & Means budget does include some new funding for Higher Education, Transportation, and Local Aid, the Governor’s budget provided larger investments to address the long-term needs of our communities and our state economy.
The Joint Ways & Means transportation package uses a combination of new tax revenue and increased fees to shore up MBTA finances and move MassDOT employees from the capital budget to the operating budget. It is significantly smaller than the Governor’s earlier transportation package and it does not include the Governor’s investments in education.
Every career begins with a first job. In recent years, it has gotten harder for young people in Massachusetts to find that first job. In fact, nearly 1 in 7 is unemployed. In order to help young people find work and train for careers, our state government has created a number of job placement and training programs
Funding for higher education has been cut 31% since 2001. As part of a multi-year effort to restore a significant portion of those cuts, the Governor has proposed a large increase in support for scholarships along with additional funding for UMass, State Universities, and Community Colleges.
To help cities and towns support police and fire protection, parks, and other core local services, the state provides funding through General Local Aid. Since 2001, that funding has fallen by 46%. Under the Governor’s FY 2014 proposal, general local aid would be increased for the first time in five years, albeit by a relatively small amount.
To help improve the lives of poor children and their families, Massachusetts provides direct cash assistance through a program known as TAFDC. Over time, the value of this cash assistance has fallen significantly. For every dollar that an eligible family received in 1998, they receive just 58 cents today (adjusted for inflation).
To pay for significant new investments in education and transportation, the Governor has proposed a revenue package that eliminates a number of popular personal income tax exemption. It is possible to raise similar revenue—and increase tax fairness—without eliminating those exemptions.