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HWM FY 2022 Budget Proposal Lacks Bold Investments to Build Racial and Economic Equity in the Commonwealth
Statement by Marie-Frances Rivera, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), on the House Ways and Means Committee’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposal …
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Kurt Wise, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, questioned the use of one-time surplus tax revenues to drive permanent tax policy changes and suggested adjustments to the earned income tax credit would be a more targeted way to help lower income taxpayers.
The business tax break, Wise said, would only add to about $140 billion in tax cuts for corporations included in the federal tax law rewrite favored by President Trump and Republicans in Congress.
While a $37 million break in a $42 billion state budget is “not an absolutely huge giveaway,” Wise said policymakers should be looking at the state and local tax structure for ways to ensure people in different income groups are paying the same effective tax rates. “This moves us in the opposite direction,” he said.
“In Massachusetts, living in high-poverty neighborhoods affects six percent of all children, and these neighborhoods are mostly in the Gateway Cities and the City of Boston. Growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods has long-term impacts on our kids. 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,” Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, on a report that 90,000 kids in Massachusetts live in concentrated poverty.
Rath: In terms of addressing this, you said money does matter, and in its report, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center calls for changes to taxes, education funding, public transit, all sorts of things. What do you think would have the biggest impact in fixing these problems we’re talking about?
Zaff: There are a few things to keep in mind. So one, I think, is very important. Through all of this, often what gets conflated is this idea of risk and deficit in the individuals themselves. And I think what’s important to realize — and we’ve seen this time and again in our own work — is that the young people living in these communities concentrated in poverty have just as much potential in capacity as those in much more economically advantaged communities. And so that’s a reason for hope. Every young person has potential to thrive. We know this from science. And so what we also know is that the capacities of those young people need to be matched with appropriate supports. And so you know, a term now being used a lot is instead of achievement gaps, is really an opportunity gap.
And so how do we close the gap in opportunities so young people have these opportunities to reach their own potential. As Mass. Budget has suggested, one way is through education, and we know that education can be a key driver of economic mobility.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.”
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated this month that there are about 185,000 undocumented immigrants currently residing in the state.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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 â€” 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.
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.