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2017-2018

Partnership in Peril: Federal Funding at Risk for State Programs Relied on by Massachusetts Residents

This paper examines the major federal funding sources that the state uses to provide access to affordable health care, help children thrive, assist low-income families, and care for veterans. In addition to describing the sources of federal funding, we examine the policy changes Congress is likely to consider that could threaten this funding and the services the funding supports. This fiscal year, one of every four dollars that supports the state's budget comes from the federal government 2–close to $11 billion in federal funds.

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How Slow Sales Tax Growth Causes Funding Problems for the MBTA

Almost 20 years ago, a penny of the sales tax was dedicated to the MBTA to be a steadily growing source of revenue for the transit system. But despite some help from the Legislature, the sales tax transfer has grown slower than the economy, creating a persistent gap between the projected funds and actual sales tax transfers. Sales taxes have underperformed for the MBTA as a result of a shift to services, some transactions moving online, and exclusion of fast-growing meals tax revenues from the MBTA. An appendix explains the formula for determining the MBTA sales tax transfer and how other sales taxes are allocated.

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Sweeter than SALT: Highest-Income Households Get Federal Tax Cuts More Than Twice SALT Losses

The federal government has enacted very large tax cuts targeted mostly at higher-income taxpayers. The resulting loss of an almost $1.5 trillion in federal revenue is likely to lead to cuts in federal support for programs that are important to people in Massachusetts and to the state budget. Amid these deep tax cuts, a new federal limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) has received a lot of attention. Households that itemize deductions and pay over $10,000 in combined state and local taxes will no longer be able to deduct more than this amount when calculating their taxable income for federal taxes.

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2016-2017

Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy

Effective economic policies can create a more highly productive state economy and make it possible to improve economic opportunity and security for working families. This paper examines the economic research on the relationship between effective investments in education and transportation and improved economic productivity. The paper also examines the economic effects of tax reforms that can fund those investments.

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A Preview of the FY 2017 Budget

This preview provides an overview of both the specific challenges facing the Commonwealth this year and troubling longer-term trends that state budget writers face in crafting a budget for FY 2017. We see that tax cuts of over $3 billion a year have undermined our capacity to make the investments in our people and communities that could make our economy more productive and our Commonwealth an even better place in which to live, work, and raise a family.

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Incarceration Trends in Massachusetts: Long-Term Increases, Recent Progress

This paper analyzes incarceration trends in Massachusetts over the past four decades. We see progress, but also that we have a long way to go: incarceration rates are still much higher than they were before the 1980s, and a large share of those leaving prison and jail are not receiving the education and treatment programs that make their reentry into society more successful.

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Analyzing the Governor’s FY 2017 Budget

The Governor’s budget proposal for FY 2017 is best described as an austerity budget. It contains small cuts and spending reductions across government and includes few new initiatives. This Budget Monitor analyzes the budget compared to current spending levels and in the context of longer-term trends.

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2015-2016

Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy

Effective economic policies can create a more highly productive state economy and make it possible to improve economic opportunity and security for working families. This paper examines the economic research on the relationship between effective investments in education and transportation and improved economic productivity. The paper also examines the economic effects of tax reforms that can fund those investments.

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A Preview of the FY 2017 Budget

This preview provides an overview of both the specific challenges facing the Commonwealth this year and troubling longer-term trends that state budget writers face in crafting a budget for FY 2017. We see that tax cuts of over $3 billion a year have undermined our capacity to make the investments in our people and communities that could make our economy more productive and our Commonwealth an even better place in which to live, work, and raise a family.

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Incarceration Trends in Massachusetts: Long-Term Increases, Recent Progress

This paper analyzes incarceration trends in Massachusetts over the past four decades. We see progress, but also that we have a long way to go: incarceration rates are still much higher than they were before the 1980s, and a large share of those leaving prison and jail are not receiving the education and treatment programs that make their reentry into society more successful.

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Analyzing the Governor’s FY 2017 Budget

The Governor’s budget proposal for FY 2017 is best described as an austerity budget. It contains small cuts and spending reductions across government and includes few new initiatives. This Budget Monitor analyzes the budget compared to current spending levels and in the context of longer-term trends.

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2013-2014

A Preview of the FY 2014 Budget

Squeezed by the weak national economy and the tax cuts of the late 1990s, Massachusetts will once again face a significant budget deficit in FY 2014. $1.2 billion is the conservative estimate we develop in our new “Budget Preview.”

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Who is Affected by the Minimum Wage?

A minimum wage increase would directly raise the wages of all workers who earn less than the new minimum wage, and economic models suggest that it would also help lift wages for other low-paid workers. This paper also examines how many children live in families with a minimum wage worker and how many would benefit from an increase.

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2012-2013

The State of Working Massachusetts 2011

assessment, The State of Working Massachusetts 2011, shows that while Massachusetts has shared in this hardship, its economy is performing better than the rest of the country. What is more, our commitment to education has, over time, helped to make us one of the highest-income states in the nation.

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FY 2013 Budget Preview

Looking ahead to the fiscal challenges the Commonwealth faces in FY 2013, our Budget Preview shows that the budget deficit will be well over $1 billion.

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Demystifying General Local Aid in Massachusetts

The money that the state provides to cities and towns for core local services is called General Local Aid. Our new factsheet describes the history of general local aid, the dramatic cuts of the last four years (amounting to roughly 1/3 of all funds), and various options for reform.

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Budget Monitor: The Governor’s FY 2013 Budget

On January 25, the Governor filed his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013. Our Budget Monitor tracks the impact of those proposals on each major area of state government, from heath care and education to public safety and the environment–including information on tax revenues.

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2011-2012

Bay State survives jobs crisis better than most

During the recent crisis, Massachusetts lost fewer jobs than most states and maintained higher wages, all while avoiding a significant increase in poverty, according to “The State of Working Massachusetts,” a report prepared by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank that studies economic issues.

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The State of Working Massachusetts 2010

Like the rest of the nation, the Commonwealth is struggling to emerge from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nationally the economy has lost a larger share of its jobs than in any downturn since the Depression, and it is taking longer to regain the lost jobs than in any of our recent economic recoveries. Massachusetts has not escaped this national crisis. But we have weathered it better than most states.

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Higher Education Attainment Helps Weather Downturn

MASSACHUSETTS (WAMC) – Massachusetts is weathering the economic downturn better than most states, that’s according to a new report released by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Charlie Deitz reports that the reason for the state’s performance is its’ commitment to higher education over the last three decades.

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State capitol briefs, Tues. Jan 4

The gap between projected state spending needed to maintain state services and available revenues next fiscal year is just shy of $1.8 billion, according to a preliminary analysis released Tuesday morning by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center.

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MassBudget Brief: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview

This Budget Brief examines the condition of state finances as the budget process begins for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2011. Walking readers through the steps involved in calculating a state budget gap, the brief projects a $1.78 billion preliminary budget gap facing the Commonwealth in FY 2012.

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2010-2011

An Unstable Ladder: How the Fiscal Crisis is Threatening Education and Work Support Programs for Many Women

State programs in higher education, employment training and child care enable residents to attain and keep quality jobs. While these programs are open to all, in each area women make up a substantial majority of those using these programs and services to improve their economic standing and support their families. This report examines state support of higher education, employment training and childcare–describing how these programs work, why they are important to the participation of women in the workforce, and the strains on both the programs and participants brought about by the economic crisis.

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Budget Brief: Saving for that Rainy Day: The Stabilization Fund

The balance in the state’s Stabilization Fund has varied over the past 10 years. The Stabilization Fund–often referred to as the “Rainy Day Fund”–is a cushion for when the economy turns down. It is like a savings account for the state to turn to when there is not enough money in the General Fund (the “checking account”) to fund the state’s operations.

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Budget Brief: Understanding the State Budget is Getting Easier

This Budget Brief provides an overview of the recent reforms that make it easier to understand the state budget (or, that make it more transparent), highlights some new improvements in that regard this year, and offers an example of how the budget could present important information even more clearly.

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