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Statement on Governor Baker’s Revised FY 2021 Budget Recommendation

Read the statement by Marie-Frances Rivera, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), on Governor Baker's revised Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Recommendation.
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Testimony for the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, the Joint Committee on Revenue, and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance Economic Roundtable

We’re clearly in a budget crisis. Which is extremely troubling at this time, when we need real, comprehensive relief for families and individuals — so many of our neighbors, young and old, are struggling with accessing basic necessities and keeping healthy and well. Our Commonwealth’s budget – how we raise revenue through taxes and fees, and how we spend that revenue – is the clearest picture of our shared values. Considering the revenue side picture is crucial, but the other side of the ledger is just, if not more important.
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State Borrowing is No Substitute for New Revenue in Dealing with the COVID-19 Economic Downturn

States rely on borrowing to manage their finances in good times and bad. Yet borrowing is not a substitute for raising the revenue needed for an economic recovery. Policymakers should look to raising progressive new revenues paired with limited borrowing to avoid cuts to critical public spending.
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Bruised Budgets: A Higher Education Funding History Lesson For An Antiracist Future

A well-funded public higher education system has the power to open up countless opportunities for low-income students and families of all races and backgrounds. For many students and families of color, higher education is a necessary element in a journey toward upward economic mobility and stability. Those with completed post-secondary education are more likely to be healthier [1], earn twice as much as those with a high school diploma[2], and people with even some college education are less likely to be fired and more likely to be hired back during and after economic downturns.[3] Because of this, families place priority on their ...
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Supporting Racial Equity and a Robust Recovery with a Corporate Income Tax Rate Increase

By returning the state corporate income tax to pre-2010 rates, the Commonwealth could raise $375 million to $500 million a year to help fund a racially equitable, economically just, and robust recovery.
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Bringing in the Relief Part II: The Census Counts for Equity

More than $3.3 billion in CARES Act funding comes to our Massachusetts communities based on population estimates from the census. Learn how the Commonwealth can get its fair share of power and money through a complete, accurate 2020 Census count in our latest report.
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Municipal Budgets, Local Aid, and Property Taxes Amid COVID-19

As a result of the pandemic, municipalities face increased spending needs and declining revenues. Many have the ability to raise property taxes, though others are constrained by Proposition 2 1/2. Moreover, property taxes tend to fall hardest on those with lower incomes. Without sufficient municipal aid, cities and towns may be forced to make public cuts which would slow the economic recovery.
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Road to Recovery: How to Safely Reopen Early Education in Massachusetts

As the Commonwealth's early education and care sector reopens, many providers are at risk of closing permanently unless there is a significant new source of funding. Learn more about COVID-19's impact on early education in our latest report, and what it will take to safely reopen.
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Mass. Raised Revenue in Last Three Recessions, Reducing Cuts

Cutting budgets and failing to invest in communities hardest hit by the pandemic perpetuates the deep racial inequities built into the current system. Learn more about how the Commonwealth has solved the challenges of past economic recessions in our latest report.
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Tens of thousands of undocumented, essential workers at risk of lost jobs, lost pay, exposure to COVID-19

Immigrants without status form the backbone of Massachusetts — producing our food, tending to our loved ones, and stocking our supermarkets. But the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread business closures mean many of these undocumented workers have found themselves at risk of losing their jobs, losing income, or being exposed to the virus.
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Unemployment Assistance in a Time of COVID-19

The Commonwealth has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences by implementing several bold new federal unemployment policies that are also supported with federal funds. These have provided crucial protection to many workers and the economy, though undocumented workers have been excluded. Since late April, the greatest volume of unemployment claims have been for a new program for workers traditionally ineligible for unemployment insurance. Without new federal legislation, this program will expire at the end of the year. The federally-funded $600 enhancement to weekly benefits will expire at the end of July. The loss of these benefits would ...
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Testimony Supporting Act to Provide Equal Stimulus Checks to Immigrant Taxpayers

Testimony supporting legislation for state stimulus checks for taxpayers excluded from federal benefits because they pay taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a social security number.
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Bringing in the Relief Part I: Federal Fiscal Relief for our State Budget is Critical for a Strong, Just Recovery

For more on federal fiscal relief, read That’s A Relief Part I: Federal Fiscal Relief to Massachusetts in Recently-Passed Legislation and That’s A Relief Part II: Federal Fiscal Relief for Community Development in the CARES Act. The Massachusetts state budget is the single piece of legislation each year that defines the state’s vision, values, and plan for the coming fiscal year. Over the course of the past two months, a public health emergency has quickly turned also into an economic emergency. And now, the scope of the state fiscal crisis that has come from this has only started to become clear. Already, hundreds ...
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The CARES Act: Costly Tax Cuts for High-Income Filers

What were the tax breaks provided to the wealthy and businesses in the CARES Act? What is the cost of these tax breaks? Learn how these tax breaks could impact the Commonwealth's recovery from COVID-19.
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Wrong time for Massachusetts to introduce a charitable tax deduction?

A new tax subsidy initially approved two decades ago, the state charitable deduction, is set to automatically go into effect in January 2021, reducing revenue by $300 million annually. Are there ways to stem revenue loss and limit the subsidy to high incomes? Learn more about what the state charitable deduction could mean for the Commonwealth amid COVID-19.
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