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New Reports Show Fair Share Amendment Will Help Small Businesses, Other Progressive Tax Changes Can Too

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2021 BOSTON, MA –  Our Commonwealth has traditionally celebrated small businesses as a way for everyday working people to build …

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A False Sense of Housing Security

Maria has been living in fear. Her landlord has been rapping on her door, harassing her and her children for the rent. But, since both …

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Mass. Public Higher Education and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

What’s the state of public higher education in the Commonwealth? Learn more in our latest presentation outlining federal pandemic relief below:

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Virus Crisis Could Lead To Use Of State’s Savings

“This is a rainy day, so we need to have further policy debates about whether it makes sense to pull in the ‘rainy day’ at this point. And if so, where do we make the investments?” said Marie-Frances Rivera, president of fiscal group MassBudget. Rivera says that first and foremost, the state needs to use the rainy day fund to shore up that strained unemployment system.

“People are going to be out of work and they’re already starting to be out of work and be laid off, etc.,” Rivera said.

“So really, we see direct income supports for workers as being very important, especially low wage workers.”

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How Should Mass. Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis?

We Must Provide Robust Economic Relief and Recovery for Vulnerable Populations and Children in Massachusetts Policy is the lever that we can pull to bring …

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Coronavirus could cause Mass. lawmakers to rethink the state budget`

Budget observers see the potential for a cavalcade of expenses if the economy worsens, and the impacts from the virus widen. Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center think tank, said lawmakers should, for example, be ready to help safety-net hospitals – those that have a large number of low-income patients – or displaced workers in sudden need of unemployment payments.

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Education aid phase-in emerging as flashpoint

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reported last month that increasing low-income rate to the same one-seventh level would cost another $74 million next fiscal year.

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A Big Tax Break for the Trucking Industry Hides in the House Transportation Bill

Phineas Baxandall, an analyst for the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center who tipped off StreetsblogMASS about the tax break over the weekend, says that it could cost the Commonwealth $9 to $11 million in lost revenue.

“If the goal of the bill is to add funding for transportation, it’s not clear why this revenue reduction was included,” wrote Baxandall in an email message. “This is enough revenue to enable several regional transportation authorities to be fare-free, to make substantial road repairs, or other important functions that should not get shortchanged without strong reasons. It’s not clear what pressing public good is advanced by this.”

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State transportation funding proposal unveiled

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank, wants lawmakers to raise taxes on corporations and top earners to pay for transportation upgrades.

“Regressive taxes, like the gas tax, fall heaviest on low-income families,” Marie-France Rivera, the group’s president, said in a statement. “In a state with one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation, it’s critical that these new investments are made by people and corporations who can most afford it.”

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For some on the South Shore, higher pay means less money

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimates that the wage hike affects 420,600 workers, including many who are employed in the food service and retail sectors.

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Report faults Baker’s approach to low-income student aid

In a new report, a Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analyst wrote that the governor’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal (H 2) falls tens of millions of dollars short on low-income support in the first implementation year of the seven-year funding reform law.

While the annual spending bill delivers sufficient funding for most areas of need identified in the law, the organization wrote, it increases low-income student aid at a lower rate than other spending areas targeted in the so-called Student Opportunity Act.

“The goal of the Student Opportunity Act is to update our state funding for public schools so every child can get an excellent education, regardless of their background,” MassBudget senior policy analyst and report author Colin Jones said in a statement. “Slower progress on any part of this new law means state lawmakers will have to play catch-up later. Meanwhile, schools would not be able to consistently phase in enhancements to their programs on schedule.”
While the annual spending bill delivers sufficient funding for most areas of need identified in the law, the organization wrote, it increases low-income student aid at a lower rate than other spending areas targeted in the so-called Student Opportunity Act.

“The goal of the Student Opportunity Act is to update our state funding for public schools so every child can get an excellent education, regardless of their background,” MassBudget senior policy analyst and report author Colin Jones said in a statement. “Slower progress on any part of this new law means state lawmakers will have to play catch-up later. Meanwhile, schools would not be able to consistently phase in enhancements to their programs on schedule.”

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Baker budget doesn’t keep state’s commitment to poor students, critics say

An analysis of Baker’s plan by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released Tuesday found that districts would receive $74 million less than expected for low-income students, a reduction that would be felt most keenly by so-called “gateway” cities serving large numbers of poor students.

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Immigrant driver’s license bill moves forward

The Work and Family Mobility Act, dubbed the "Driver's License Bill," would give an estimated 165,000 undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts a form of government-issued identification, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. It removes language from current law that says people who are not authorized to be in the country cannot get licenses.

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As lawmakers decide fate of driver’s license bill, activists stage hunger strike at Massachusetts State House

Bills authorizing immigrants, regardless of legal status, to obtain driver's licenses has failed to pass multiple sessions. Sen. Brendan Crighton and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier re-filed the legislation in early 2019. Bills H.3012 and S.2061 propose expanding access to standard licenses to immigrants without 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.

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As expected, new ed funding helps Gateway Cities

Colin Jones, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a liberal-leaning think tank, said Gateway Cities generally receive a large portion of state education aid because local taxpayers do not have the ability to pay a lot for education. They are also the communities with large numbers of English-language learners and poor students – populations that are better funded under the new formula. He said the new funding to Gateway Cities has been needed for a long time.

“This is starting to reverse cuts, starting to add more teachers, reduce class sizes,” Jones said.

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Baker budget boosts local aid, education funding

Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, praised Baker’s proposals to boost education and transportation funding but suggested the budget lacks new revenue sources to pay for the initiatives.

“The key to sustaining these promises is new, progressive revenue,” she said in a statement. “As revenue growth continues to slow, it’s hard to tell how the governor’s proposed investments will be sustained over the long-term.

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Ride-sharing companies criticize governor’s proposed fee increase, say passengers would pay more

Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, raising TNC assessments isn’t unreasonable, but also isn’t the only means to generate revenue.

“There are other ways that we can raise revenue that wouldn’t impact low-, moderate- income people as much,” she said.

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Mass. budget gap might reach $900 million, report says

Separately, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, in what it called a “rough estimate,” wrote this week that the Baker administration expects $303 million per year in increased Chapter 70 aid from fiscal 2020 through fiscal 2027.

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