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In The News
WBUR, March 27, 2020
"It's a good starting point to help the American people right now, and to help the people of Massachusetts," said Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Rivera and her analysts are still figuring out how much of the $2 trillion will come to Massachusetts — but it will be in the billions of dollars. It's a huge amount of federal spending, but Rivera says it leaves some people behind, including undocumented immigrants, many of whom are now out of work. In addition, Rivera says the federal plan directs $3.5 billion to shore up the cost of child care across the nation — but she worries that Massachusetts' share won't be enough. "The child care system in Massachusetts is already fragile, and we're going to need support to make sure it's shored up and that kids are supported when we all step out of this quarantine," she said. While the spending plan offers cash payments and extends jobless benefits, Rivera says it will only begin to address a huge unemployment challenge in the state. She estimates that about 16% of Massachusetts residents have already lost their jobs.
Streetsblog Mass, March 20, 2020
Phineas Baxandall, a Senior Analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and occasional StreetsblogMASS contributor, notes that with ridership and traffic congestion down, “urgency for transportation spending is absent right now.” But he warns that demand for transit services are likely to surge as soon as the pandemic and its required “social distancing” begin to ebb. “If economists are correct that this is the beginning of a potentially deep recession, it will be important to make sure that transit agencies weather this – to make sure that people are able to travel to find new jobs. Infrastructure can be a stimulus to restart the economy,” says Baxandall.
WGBH, March 18, 2020
"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."
Boston Globe, March 11, 2020
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.
Commonwealth Magazine, January 24, 2020
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.
MassLive, January 22, 2020
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.
SouthCoast Today, January 15, 2020
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.
StreetsBlog Mass, January 13, 2020
MassBudget is a nonprofit think tank that conducts research and analysis on economic and budget policy in Massachusetts, with a particular focus on improving the lives of moderate- and low-income residents. This guest post is part of a MassBudget series looking ahead at some major stories to watch for in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget debate. StreetsblogMASS will share additional briefs and analysis from MassBudget as new budget proposals are released by the Governor and legislative bodies.
Boston Globe, January 8, 2020
The left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center previously estimated that the breaks for mutual-fund companies and manufacturers cost the state $224 million in fiscal 2018 alone. Kurt Wise, a tax policy analyst at the Boston-based think tank, said the shift to single sales has been proven, in state after state, to be a money-loser. Wise doesn’t buy the argument it will stoke economic development. Taken together, he said, the mutual fund and manufacturing industries have shed tens of thousands of jobs in Massachusetts during the 20-plus years they’ve benefited from the tax break.
State House News Service, January 7, 2020
In a report published in September, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center criticized the state's limited single-sales factor as a tax break that cost the state close to $400 million in fiscal 2020 without saving manufacturing jobs. "The single sales factor is an expensive tax break that has performed poorly," Marie-France Rivera, president of MassBudget, said in a statement. "Every dollar lost to the single sales factor is a dollar that can't be invested in transportation or education or that must be replaced by other taxes."
Boston Globe, January 6, 2020
“A lot of the policies on the table, like fees to disincentivize driving, have environmental benefits, but hit low-income and moderate-income people the hardest,” said Phineas Baxandall, an analyst with the left-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “Free fares advance both equity and the environment.”
Leominster Champion, December 24, 2019
Not everyone is celebrating. “The income tax is one of the few revenue sources that asks high-income people to pay in-line with their larger bank rolls,” said Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “Repeated cuts to the income tax rate are a big reason that Massachusetts’ tax system is upside-down. Those with higher incomes end up paying a smaller share of their income, on average, than moderate- and low-income taxpayers pay.”
The Somerville Times, December 19, 2019
Not everyone is celebrating. “The income tax is one of the few revenue sources that asks high-income people to pay in-line with their larger bank rolls,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “Repeated cuts to the income tax rate are a big reason that Massachusetts’ tax system is upside-down. Those with higher incomes end up paying a smaller share of their income, on average, than moderate- and low-income taxpayers pay.”
Commonwealth Magazine, December 13, 2019
“About half of that value [charitable deductions] goes to top 1 percent of income earners. These tax changes end up being regressive,” said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst at the liberal leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “We just think there’s got to be adequate revenue so low and moderate income people shouldn’t be asked to pay more than their fair share.”
WBUR, December 11, 2019
The two think tanks framed action taken by other states differently in their descriptions of Section 163(j) legislation around the country. While MTF said "several other states have already taken action to address this issue," MassBudget wrote that "decoupling from Section 163(j) is not especially common among the states." But both organizations agreed that eight states — Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin — have decoupled from Section 163(j). "If Massachusetts decouples, it will be an outlier," MassBudget said.
Commonwealth Magazine, December 10, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a more left-leaning think tank, seemed to prefer the Senate’s approach. The center says Massachusetts businesses received an estimated $4 billion in tax relief from a federal tax cut and don’t need the additional savings that decoupling would provide. “The Commonwealth should not be seeking additional ways to reduce state-level income taxes on profitable multi-state and multi-national corporations operating in Massachusetts. This approach provides an unwarranted tax advantage to a subset of businesses: those with multi-state and/or multi-national subsidiaries and sophisticated accounting departments,” the organization said in a position paper released Monday. “Providing such corporate tax cuts also deprives the Commonwealth of much-needed revenue for investments in education, transportation and more — all of which allow both businesses and communities throughout the state to thrive.”
Bloomberg Baystate Business Radio, December 10, 2019
Mass Budget and Policy Center President Marie Frances-Rivera and Senior Policy Analyst Kurt Wise on their recent study on corporate taxes in Massachusetts. (~ 24:20 minutes into the segment)
SouthCoast Today, December 3, 2019
Corporate excise taxes in the 1980s accounted for about 16 percent of the state’s total tax haul each year, according to MassBudget. The corporate share of the state’s annual tax take, however, has declined to an average of 10.6 percent over the past decade. The decline, the center said, corresponds with an increase in corporate profits as a share of U.S. income from 9.1 percent to 13 percent. “At a time when profits are soaring, taxes on those profits should not be delivering a smaller slice of our total tax pie. Kids, commuters and communities across the state need profitable corporations doing business here in Massachusetts to step up and do more, not less,” said MassBudget President Marie-Frances Rivera. The report’s author, senior policy analyst Kurt Wise, said there is “no one reason” why the corporate share of tax collections has declined while profits have grown, but the dip did occur after the Legislature in 2008 approved a phased-in reduction in the corporate tax rate from 9.5 percent to 8 percent. The center also blamed “increasingly aggressive” tax avoidance strategies and corporate tax breaks adopted by the Legislature, sometimes as a way to encourage job creation. Wise also acknowledged that the state has increased sales and tobacco tax rates and began taxing goods and services that weren’t taxed in the 1980s, including casinos, marijuana, short-term rentals and ride-hailing services like Uber. Those new sources of revenue could, to varying degrees, naturally shrink the business community’s share of the total tax burden.
Bay State Banner, November 21, 2019
As one of the highest-income states in the country, people might think Massachusetts leads the nation in bold initiatives like universal childcare, debt-free college, and electrified high-speed rail across the state. Instead, year after year, we defer these dreams. Read our president's latest on how the Commonwealth can find the revenue we need to sustain economic mobility for all.
Home Health Care News, November 20, 2019
Lading source for news and information covering the home health industry cites research on the cost of MassHealth from our "What is the Actual Cost of MassHealth in 2019?" report.
Banker & Tradesman, November 12, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated in October that the state could raise about $32 million in additional revenue for every cent added to the gas tax, warning at the same time that raising the gas tax would disproportionately impact low- and moderate-income households.
The Eagle Tribune, October 30, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reports the tax hit on Bay State drivers is now about a dime cheaper than the average paid by drivers on state and local taxes in most parts of the country, according to State House News Service. That’s surprising and a benefit likely wiped away by the extra cost of delivering gas from refineries to New England. Still, given this state’s tendencies, it’s sure to be fodder for those who argue for a tax hike. One advocacy group suggests Massachusetts motorists could take on as much as 25 cents per gallon more.
Commonwealth Magazine, October 28, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center earlier this month published a paper in which they estimated that the state could raise about $32 million in additional revenue for every cent added to the state’s 24-cent gas tax. That estimate was based on the $769.1 million generated by the gas tax in fiscal 2018. The national average in state and local taxes and fees paid by drivers at the pump is about 10 cents higher than the gas tax in Massachusetts, according to MassBudget. Transportation for Massachusetts, an advocacy group which has been advocating for new investments, has come out in favor of a 25-cent gas tax hike. MassBudget, however, has warned that increasing the gas tax will disproportionately impact low- and moderate-income households, and may be undercut by the state’s long-term goal of reducing its carbon footprint. The organization has recommended coupling any gas tax hike with an increase in the earned income tax credit.
The Berkshire Eagle, October 26, 2019
Massachusetts business groups will need a better argument than the one presented by Rep. Cusack if they are to get their change to the 2017 law passed. They will also have to address the report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center claiming that the state would lose $37 million a year in revenue if this change is passed. While this is less than 0.1 percent of the state budget, the flawed process here is as significant if not more than the revenue figure.
Patch.com, October 25, 2019
The League of Women Voters of Sudbury and First Parish of Sudbury Unitarian Universalist are co-sponsoring a public forum "State Education Funding: Does It Make the Grade?". Speakers include Anastasia Martinez, policy analyst with the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent research and analysis organization, will outline the changes in education funding proposed in the pending legislation, the Student Opportunity Act, and the impact those changes will have on school districts.
Commonwealth Magazine, October 17, 2019
Gas taxes are a “regressive” approach to generating revenue that “tend to hit those with low and moderate incomes the hardest,” according to the report issued by the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. The effect is particularly acute in rural areas, where people must drive longer distances for everything from work to grocery shopping, and there are often not viable public transportation alternatives.“There are more fiscally sustainable and progressive ways to generate revenue for transportation, such as through targeted changes to corporate or personal income taxes,” says the report, authored by Phineas Baxandall. That said, the report points to one way a gas tax could be made fairer. Coupling an increase in the gas tax with an expansion in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit for lower-income residents could offset the impact of the tax on those households. The last time the federal gas tax was increased — in 1993 — it was paired with changes in the federal tax credit to cushion the impact on lower-income households.
StreetsBlog Mass, October 17, 2019
While many sustainable transportation advocates champion higher gasoline taxes as a way to pay for transportation improvements, a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) warns that higher gasoline taxes will exacerbate the state’s growing income inequality – unless the state simultaneously passes other tax policies to benefit low-income families. A 10-cent tax increase would cost, on average, 0.20 percent of income for the lowest-income households, and less than 0.001 percent of earnings for households from the highest 1 percent of incomes, according to MassBudget. “There are real tradeoffs with the gas tax and it’s something that there needs to be a real adult conversation about,” said the report’s author, Phineas Baxandall of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “If we’re looking to regressive forms of taxes (to fund transportation improvements), then we need to couple that with other kinds of more progressive tax policies, instead of making Massachusetts less equitable.” Many environmentalists like the idea of a gasoline tax because a higher price on fossil fuels can, over time, influence consumers to drive less. But MassBudget’s report warns that “consumers can be less responsive to prices of gasoline than for many other goods because there are often few viable alternatives to car travel.”
The Patriot Ledger, October 17, 2019
At a packed hearing on the bill Tuesday, critics of the legislation blasted it as a form of racial profiling and accused its backers of playing into the hands of white supremacists. Other speakers, including the heads of several organizations serving minority populations, said the data sought by the bill would help them better understand and serve the needs of individual ethnic groups. “Making good policy is about knowing the community and figuring out what their needs are,” said Colin Jones, who works the for Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “Broad categories may be missing key stories.”
Fall River Herald News, October 15, 2019
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.
The Enterprise, October 11, 2019
“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.
WGBH, October 5, 2019
New numbers out this week from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center show that 90,000 Massachusetts children are living in areas of concentrated poverty, for the most part in Boston and in gateway cities like Lawrence and Lynn. Professor Jonathan Zaff is the director of the CERES Institute for Children and Youth at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education. He spoke with WGBH News’ Arun Rath about the effects of growing up poor. This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Commonwealth Magazine, October 3, 2019
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.
WCVB, October 1, 2019
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."
Boston Globe, October 1, 2019
“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.
Commonwealth Magazine, September 26, 2019
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.”
State House News Service, September 18, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center estimated this month that there are about 185,000 undocumented immigrants currently residing in the state.
The Berkshire Eagle, September 12, 2019
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.
SouthCoast Today, September 12, 2019
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.
Andover Townsman, September 12, 2019
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.
The Somerville Times, September 5, 2019
“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.
CBS Boston, September 5, 2019
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.
MassLive, September 4, 2019
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.
State House News Service, August 10, 2019
"Moving the needle on current priorities -- from education and transportation, to affordable housing and other services -- means giving serious consideration to sustainable, adequate, and progressive revenue options," Rivera said in a statement. "The House Ways and Means Committee budget proposal would make it nearly impossible for lawmakers to support our Commonwealth's priorities in any meaningful way in the coming fiscal year."
WBUR, July 25, 2019
Colin Jones, a senior analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), which tends to advocate for higher taxes and more state spending, agreed, calling the budget "a pretty significant agreement" on education but saying it needed to be fairly distributed. Jones said that will depend on reform of the "foundation budget" formula. The state uses that formula to calculate the costs of schooling in districts based on their demographics — and as a result, how much aid each district gets. The formula could be seen as state leaders' agreement on who deserves what in education. Without updating it, Jones said, "we’d be repeating that same argument year after year: How much do we do, and what are our goals?"
New Haven Register, July 23, 2019
"Though these additional investments are welcome, it is possible that this revenue growth will not last forever," the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said in a statement. "A few, unexpected 'boom years' do not change the underlying fact that Massachusetts has a long-term problem with inadequate revenues."
Commonwealth Magazine, July 16, 2019
Distressed about the recent MBTA delays and derailments? Learn about the history of the flawed funding formula and the regressive tax policies responsible for the bind Bay State commuters are facing.
Commonwealth Magazine, July 15, 2019
We know well that money alone doesn’t fix problems. We’re going to be here fighting to make sure that money gets used effectively for our kids long after this bill is passed. But we also know that, as an independent report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center noted recently, we can’t reasonably expect success for our kids’ schools — with all the additional load they carry — for less than what wealthy communities are paying for their students.
Dorchester Reporter, June 27, 2019
"The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which did not make recommendations in its report, offered a clear metric for the difference between bills. Schools would receive boosts in their funding relative to the proportion to the number of low-income students they serve."
Public News Service, June 18, 2019
"One of the biggest inequities that the Kids Count Data Book really illuminates is the fact that, while Massachusetts is a leader nationally in education, that education isn't necessarily equitable for low- to moderate-income children, individuals from communities of color and then also, immigrant populations,” Williams said.
Boston Herald, June 17, 2019
"No single program or service can ensure that our kids do well," said Nancy Wagman, director of KIDS COUNT in Massachusetts. "...(but) a wealthy state like ours can do more to invest in equitable public education for our children."
Salem News, June 17, 2019
As of this school year, MassBudget said, the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations around English language learner funding increases have been nearly two-thirds completed, and the increase of health and benefit rates to match Group Insurance Commission levels has been 30 percent phased in. The report said extra support for low-income students "accounts for much of the variation in the costs of leading plans for school funding reform." For low-income students, according to MassBudget, the FBRC "proposed a range of reforms encompassing minor changes all the way to doubling the amount in the formula for each low-income student."
Worcester Telegram, June 17, 2019
MassBudget’s calculations solidify an argument many school districts have been making since Mr. Baker and lawmakers revealed their respective bills earlier this year: that the governor’s proposal simply doesn’t go far enough to correct the state’s insufficient school funding formula, known as the foundation budget. While the organization isn’t formally taking a stance on those competing measures, MassBudget senior policy analyst Colin Jones said the intent of its new report was to show the contrast between the plans on a district-by-district level. “That’s what we’re hoping to do here,” he said, adding the final numbers speak for themselves: “that’s a pretty big gap we’re talking about,” between the governor’s plan and the Promise Act.
Boston Globe, June 16, 2019
“If the Legislature does something more bold, like the Promise Act, they will need additional revenue,” said Colin Jones, senior policy analyst at the budget center. But such an investment, he said, could make a profound difference in the educational opportunities offered to students living in poverty, enabling their districts, for instance, to expand early childhood education and bring in more social-service programs. “You get a once in-a-generation shot” at overhauling school funding, he said. “Let’s make sure we get it right.” MassBudget, as the policy institute is commonly called, receives funding from more than two dozen philanthropic foundations and advocacy organizations, including teacher unions, which favor the Promise Act. The report was funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, a nonprofit based in Quincy.
Lowell Sun, May 29, 2019
For Marie-Francis Rivera, the President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the tax initiative, if executed fairly, would be an excellent way to redistribute resources across poorer areas in the commonwealth. “We believe education and transportation are important to improving the lives of people,” Rivera said in an interview. “Many districts around the commonwealth are underfunded, and our own research has found that there are close to a billion dollars a year in school aid that is needed to make sure we have equitable funding for our kids.” Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst at MassBudget, testified before the Legislature’s Committee on Revenue at a public hearing on April 11 in support of the proposal. “If the Fair Share Amendment were currently in place … the top one percent of tax filers would pay about the same percentage of their income as the rest of the top 5 percent of incomes,” Baxandall said.
Commonwealth Magazine, May 19, 2019
As discussed in Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s recent report, Massachusetts has a chance to ensure that modestly paid salaried workers, like assistant managers in big-box stores and fast-food restaurants, get paid for the hours they work and have time for themselves and their families. Bills before the Legislature would modernize the state’s overtime law, extending new or stronger overtime protections to 435,000 salaried workers in Massachusetts by 2024. That’s a quarter of all salaried workers in the state.
WGBH, April 26, 2019
Nancy Wagman, of the left-leaning group Massbudget, says it’s difficult to know how many people could be affected by the addition of the proposed citizenship question. However, she adds, any under-counting of immigrant populations — especially immigrant populations that are growing — could have a significant effect on the billions of dollars in federal funds that are largely assisting those groups.
WBUR, April 18, 2019
According to a recent report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the top 1 percent of local taxpayers pay about 6.8 percent of their income. The bottom 20 percent of earners, by contrast, pay 10 percent. This is largely thanks to property and sales taxes, which are regressive taxes that disproportionately impact lower-income taxpayers.
Lowell Sun, April 18, 2019
"I think what's so appealing about it as a progressive is that 80 percent of capital gains goes to the top 1 percent of Massachusetts households, according to the Mass. Budget and Policy Center, so I would say it's unassailably progressive to want to raise revenue from capital gains," Connolly said.
Inequality.org, April 12, 2019
“At stake is fundamental fairness,” Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center told the committee. The funds could be used, Rivera said, to fix the to be structurally deficient or to fund public transit. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center senior analyst Phineas Baxandall explained that the millionaire tax could help “right-side” the state’s unfair tax structure. The current top 1 percent of income earners pay only 6.8 percent of their income in taxes, according to research from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. The Fair Share Amendment would increase their tax burden to about 8 to 8.5 percent, bringing them level with the current range of the top 5 percent of income earners.
New Boston Post, April 11, 2019
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which supports the Millionaires’ Tax, says that when you combine state income taxes, state sales tax, and local property taxes, households with the lowest incomes tend to pay a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than households with higher incomes.
The Atlantic, April 11, 2019
Massachusetts schools are already underfunded by about $1 billion, according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank, and the state hasn’t been able to figure out a way to bring in more cash. It has a flat income tax, and five previous efforts to get voters to amend the state constitution and change this have failed.
State House News Service, April 10, 2019
Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said that her organization appreciates the "thoughtful approach" the House plans to take on revenue but panned the budget plan itself, with no associated revenue boosters, as unhelpful. "Moving the needle on current priorities -- from education and transportation, to affordable housing and other services -- means giving serious consideration to sustainable, adequate, and progressive revenue options," Rivera said in a statement. "The House Ways and Means Committee budget proposal would make it nearly impossible for lawmakers to support our Commonwealth's priorities in any meaningful way in the coming fiscal year."
WGBH, April 10, 2019
Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the tax-inclined budget watch group MassBudget, said the by-the-books Michlewitz budget "would make it nearly impossible for lawmakers to support our Commonwealth's priorities in any meaningful way in the coming fiscal year." "But moving the needle on current priorities — from education and transportation, to affordable housing and other services — means giving serious consideration to sustainable, adequate, and progressive revenue options," Rivera said.
Boston Globe, April 4, 2019
We support this position wholeheartedly, and see this as an important first step in addressing the inequity evidenced in the report by Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. MassBudget also deserves praise for its valuable research and equity lens.
Boston Globe - Op-Ed, February 12, 2013
Tax policy debates are about how we pay for the things we do together for our communities, our families, and our economy. Working together through government allows us to accomplish things that are vital to us as a Commonwealth and that we can't do alone...About 15 years ago, at the height of the dot-com bubble, our state made tax policy choices that have shaped state policy ever since...The state enacted a series of cuts to the income tax that are now costing us close to $3 billion a year. We cut the tax rate on most income from 5.95 percent to 5.3 percent, costing over $1.5 billion. We cut the tax rate on dividends and interest from 12 percent to 5.3 percent, costing about $850 million. We increased the personal deduction to $4,400, costing $550 million.
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, January 23, 2011
WITH THE governor scheduled to file his budget proposal for the coming year on Wednesday, and the Commonwealth facing a budget gap of close to $2 billion, knowing that our government provides services as efficiently as possible will be more important than ever.