By Phineas Baxandall, Senior Policy Analyst


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.

Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has made new public spending necessary to protect families, enable greater social distancing, reduce class sizes in school, strengthen public health, and provide countless other investments to combat the virus. At the same time, the virus and the resulting damage to the…

By Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director

For more on federal fiscal relief, read Bringing in the Relief Part I, and That’s a Relief Parts I and II.

Key Takeaways

  • A complete and accurate count in the census has implications for equity, power, and money.
  • More than $3.3 billion in CARES Act funding comes to our Massachusetts communities based on population estimates from the census.
  • Massachusetts might have received more federal relief had there not been an undercount in the 2010 Census.
  • In 2020 it is particularly important the Census Bureau counts those they have historically missed: communities of color (especially…

By Marie-Frances Rivera, President, Mass Budget

This country was built upon racist ideas and policies that we must all work deliberately to undo every day. These policies, such as Jim Crow laws, residential redlining, inequitable school funding, lack of access to GI bill benefits, and more have brought deep harms to Black and Brown communities.

Last week our staff and board took time to reflect and recommit ourselves to being antiracist. This is the question we posed to ourselves:

How do we, as a group of people committed to the values of antiracism, shift our work so our actions reflect…

By Guest Author: Max Page

Mail Transportation” (1938) by Fletcher Martin

At the April 14th virtual State House gathering of economists, MassBudget President Marie-Frances Rivera named the next contagion we could face — the contagion of austerity. She urged that the legislators not “switch to austerity mode” by accepting — even embracing — budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs that are our usual, and mistaken, response to economic crises. To embrace that “austerity mode” will make the economic crisis worse, last longer and be more painful to the workers and families in the Commonwealth.

How do we fight this? MassBudget has been the state’s leading think tank…

By Kurt Wise, Senior Policy Analyst

Read the full “CARES Act: Costly Tax Cuts for High-Income Filers” brief here.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — a law intended to deliver emergency, COVID-related federal relief — included large tax cuts for a small subset of high-income business owners (in particular, hedge fund investors and real estate developers) and for C-corporations. …

By Phineas Baxandall, Senior Policy Analyst

Anyone concerned about Massachusetts’ economic recovery should be worried about state and municipal budget cuts. This is not the time for austerity. Relying on cuts to balance the state budget is the surest way to worsen a recession because it will cause economic problems to spiral.

Cuts to public spending would lengthen an oncoming recession, as it would take money out of our local economy that would otherwise recirculate and spur economic activity. …

By Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director

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. …

By Colin Jones, Senior Policy Analyst


Quality early education and care (EEC) is not only critical for helping young children to learn and grow, it’s also vital to our economy by providing support for working parents. The current public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is dramatically impacting the provision of early education and care for young children in the Commonwealth.

The disruption to early education programs is occurring while the broader effects are felt across the health system, economy, and in the daily lives of all residents adjusting to the unprecedented measures to slow…

By Monique Ching莊穎詩, Policy Analyst

Updated 05/06/2020, check back for updates. This is an abbreviated version of a longer report. The full report is available here.

The coronavirus crisis and its induced recession are upending all areas of life. The Massachusetts state budget is no exception. How has the crisis affected the state budget and what does this mean?

MassBudget has compiled the answers to some commonly asked questions and provided a handy glossary of terms.

Share your questions, insights, and concerns with us at

1. What might be the process for creating the FY 2021 state budget?

Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 begins on July 1, 2020 yet the process for creating…

By Anastasia Martinez, Policy Analyst

A college degree is an important first step for many to pursue their dreams. Unfortunately, this dream is increasingly out of reach for many students from low-income backgrounds, including students of color and non-traditional students. State funding cuts have led to vast tuition and fees increases at our state universities and colleges, placing the financial burden of public higher education even more squarely on the shoulders of students and families.

Many students must borrow money to cover the costs of higher education. Higher education costs have often led to significant student loan debt and have…

Mass. Budget & Policy Center

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center provides independent research and analysis of state budget and economic policies.

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