In The News

For media inquiries, contact Reginauld Williams at rwilliams@massbudget.org

Senate approves big boost in school aid

Baker filed a funding bill in January that would have increased state aid to districts by $460 million, according to an estimate by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The nearly $1 billion gap between his bill and the measure passed by the Senate underscores the tensions that are emerging between the administration the Legislature over the sweeping legislation.

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90,000 Mass. kids living in ‘concentrated poverty,’ researchers say

About 90,000 children in Massachusetts are growing up in neighborhoods where 30 percent of more of the population is living in poverty, according to local researchers who drew their conclusions from recently released U.S. Census Bureau data. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said Tuesday that the neighborhoods featuring “concentrated poverty” are mostly in “gateway cities” and in Boston.Center officials describe growing up in a high-poverty area as “one of the greatest risks to child development” and said the latest data shows more than 8.5 million U.S. children live in such settings.

To address the situation, MassBudget called for tax system changes, equitable education funding, investments in public transportation, and ensuring equitable opportunities for people regardless of their immigration status.

“Growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods has long-term impacts on our kids,” MassBudget President Marie-Frances Rivera said in a statement. “All children and families deserve quality education, housing and access to opportunity. Investing in solutions that uplift children in poverty will create the change needed for everyone in the Commonwealth to thrive.”

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Tens of thousands of Mass. children still live in areas of concentrated poverty, report says

“Growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods has long-term impacts on our kids,” said Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group in Boston, in a statement.

“All children and families deserve quality education, housing and access to opportunity. Investing in solutions that uplift children in poverty will create the change needed for everyone in the Commonwealth to thrive,” Rivera said.

The data snapshot was released by KIDS COUNT, a project of the foundation intended to track the status of children in the United States and provide data on children’s well-being to enrich policy discussions. MassBudget is the foundation’s KIDS COUNT partner for Massachusetts.

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On education bill, funding and taxes loom large

Colin Jones of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center applauded the bill, calling it “a very significant move forward,” but added that the idea that there will be no need for new revenue over seven years to pay for it is “a lot to assume.”
While Worcester, for example, would have been required to increase its local education spending by $3 million under the Promise Act, it would have received $74 million in addition state aid, according to the Mass. Budget and Policy Center.

While details of how the bill now before the Legislature would affect individual districts have not been released, it would also mean an enormous increase in state aid to Gateway Cities in exchange for a small hike in local spending.

“They’ll make that trade easily,” said Jones, the Mass. Budget and Policy Center analyst. “They’re lining up for that.”

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Enforcement Climate Causing Immigrants to Forego Care

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated this month that there are about 185,000 undocumented immigrants currently residing in the state.

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Our Opinion: Modest tax reforms would have benefits

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), an independent group that researches and analyzes the state’s finances, Massachusetts’ business tax levels rank in the bottom fifth of all 50 states. “Massachusetts currently has a favorable business tax environment, despite regular claims to the contrary,” writes MassBudget President Marie-Frances Rivera in the report. She adds that two specific business tax provisions “appear outdated, ineffective, and unnecessarily costly to the Commonwealth.”

The first provision, called the “single sales factor,” is tailored to multi-state corporations in the theory that it would increase manufacturing employment in the state. Instituted in 2000, MassBudget notes that the state lost 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2014 and there has been no resurgence since. The tax break has not come close to doing what it was intended to do, and according to MassBudget, will cause the state to lose $400 million in revenue in Fiscal Year 2020. A tax break this ineffective and costly cannot be justified.

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Rep. Antonio Cabral: Address charter funding in school budget bill

Cabral hosted a caucus briefing where Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analyst Colin Jones laid out the facts of competing school funding proposals and the challenges he sees as inherent in striking a deal.

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Licensing bill triggers debate over immigration, driving

Supporters of the legislation argued at the hearing that it would make the roads safer for everyone and ease the stress on the state’s roughly undocumented immigrants – many of whom already drive without a license, training or insurance. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated last week that there are 185,000 undocumented immigrants in the state.

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Representative Barber testifies with hundreds of supporters for her Driver's License Bill

"Allowing immigrants the right to drive is good for the economy and for your pocket," said Ben Echevarria, Executive Director of The Welcome Project. "The recent MassBudget study shows this bill would add about $6 million to state revenue and would lower individual's annual insurance rates by roughly $20. It's good for our economy and makes our roads safer."

In anticipation of the hearing, Rep. Barber also spoke at a Labor Day Rally in support of the bill, and at a Press Conference to release a report from MassBudget that shows the positive impact this bill would have on our Commonwealth.

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Bill To Make Driver's Licenses Available To Undocumented Immigrants Debated At Massachusetts State House

Supporters of the legislation argued Wednesday that it would make the roads safer for everyone and ease the stress on the state's undocumented immigrants — many of whom already drive without a license, training or insurance. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated Wednesday that there are 185,000 undocumented immigrants in the state.

Allowing undocumented immigrants to acquire driver's licenses could generate millions of dollars in revenue for both the state and for insurance companies, researchers at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said in a report released hours before Wednesday's hearing. Undocumented immigrants already contribute about $184.6 million in Massachusetts state and local taxes and having a license could increase many immigrants' earning power and their tax contributions.

MBPC President Marie-Frances Rivera described the legislation as "economically sensible, and simply the right thing to do" at the Wednesday morning press conference.

"Licensing drivers without documents not only allows them and their families to access basic necessities, it also allows employers to access more qualified workers in our tight labor market," Rivera said.

Passing the legislation would likely generate $6 million in state revenue over the first three years and lower each Massachusetts driver's insurance premium by about $20 per year, which Rivera pointed out is enough to buy flowers on Mother's Day. It would also generate an additional $62 million in revenue for insurance companies, the report found.

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Advocates pack State House hearing to support bill to expand driving privileges to all Mass. residents, regardless of legal status

An estimated 185,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this bill if it becomes law, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Currently, residents need to show a work permit or other proof of legal status to be eligible for a driver's license.

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Editorial: Time to call curtains on the film tax credit

Meanwhile, study after study has found fault with the economic impact of the state’s film credit. A 2015 report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center found that the state pays significantly more for every job created by the credit than the wages earned by those jobs, and gets just 13 cents in revenue back from every dollar spent.

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Center Looks at ‘State of Working Massachusetts’

In this video, MassBudget President Noah Berger discusses the State of Working Massachusetts 2011 with BNN News anchor Christopher Lovett.

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BNN News Interviews Noah Berger of the Mass. Budget and Policy Center

MassBudget President, Noah Berger, discusses the Massachusetts economy and a recent “State of Working Massachusetts” report.

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Cracks in the Foundation of MA K-12 Funding

The foundation budget established under the Education Reform Act of 1993 to calculate adequate baseline spending for the state's public school districts understates the costs of special education and health insurance by more than $2 billion, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

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