Achieving greater fiscal stability: guidance for the New England states
This report considers the New England states? past preparedness for revenue downturns caused by business cycle fluctuations and assesses policy actions that could promote greater fiscal stability in the future.
Water, water everywhere: dare I drink a drop? (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Given New England?s ample rainfall, green forests, and extensive wetlands, many of the region?s inhabitants might question the notion that it faces potentially severe water shortages. Yet, parts of the region already confront such shortages. These shortages are likely to spread, absent corrective action. This paper describes the characteristics of New England responsible for its looming water problems, identifies areas within the region most vulnerable to such problems, and analyzes alternative strategies for alleviating them. Small, shallow, porous aquifers are the region?s primary ...
When the tide goes out: unemployment insurance trust funds and the Great Recession, lessons for and from New England
The unemployment insurance (UI) program is a federal-state program aiming to: (1) provide temporary, partial compensation for the lost earnings of individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and (2) serve as a stabilizer during economic downturns by injecting additional resources into the economy in the form of benefit payments. Each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, operates its own UI program within federal guidelines. ; Since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007, two-thirds of state UI programs depleted their trust funds ...
The Impact of Felony Larceny Thresholds on Crime in New England
Criminal justice reform has been a high-priority policy area in New England and the nation in recent years. States are generally seeking legislation that would help reintegrate ex-offenders into society while still prioritizing the welfare of all members of the public and the achievement of fiscal goals. The research findings presented in this report indicate that raising felony larceny thresholds—that is, increasing the dollar value of stolen property at or above which a larceny offense may be charged in court as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, a policy adopted by three New England ...
Measuring municipal fiscal disparities in Connecticut
Fiscal disparities exist when some municipalities face higher costs for providing a given level of public services or fewer taxable resources to finance those services than others. A municipality's economic and social characteristics can affect both costs and resources. The potential for fiscal disparities in Connecticut is particularly high given the vast socioeconomic differences observed across the state's 169 cities and towns. This paper measures the non-school fiscal health of Connecticut municipalities using a "municipal gap." Municipal gap is the difference between the ...
Reforming Connecticut’s Education Aid Formula to Achieve Equity and Adequacy across School Districts
Connecticut’s public K–12 education system relies heavily on local funding, resulting in substantial disparities between affluent districts and low-income districts with a large proportion of socioeconomically disadvantaged students whoare more costly to educate. Despite recent improvements, the existing state aid formula has been criticized for failing to provide sufficient funding to districts with the fewest resources and the highest education costs. To help improve state aiddistribution, this report estimates a “cost-capacity gap,” which measures the difference between a ...
The potential economic impact of increasing the minimum wage in Massachusetts
In this report I review the arguments on both sides of the issue. In doing so, I discuss and critique, where applicable, the evidence presented in the two reports that have been issued on either side of the debate. I also produce my own projection of the likely impact of raising the minimum wage on aggregate employment and wages. These calculations use the two reports as a baseline, modifying some of the assumptions to better reflect evidence supported by the economic literature. According to my estimates, the current proposal to increase the minimum wage could have a negative impact on ...
The challenge of energy policy in New England
New England's energy problems were not quickly created, and they will not be quickly resolved. But they cannot be ignored, for they are too important to the region's future. Without the assurance of an energy system that can meet immediate demands along with long-term growth, the region puts its economic prosperity at risk.
Racial and Socioeconomic Test-Score Gaps in New England Metropolitan Areas: State School Aid and Poverty Segregation
Test-score data show that both low-income and racial-minority children score lower, on average, on states’ elementary-school accountability tests compared with higher-income children or white children. While different levels of scholastic achievement depend on a host of influences, such test-score gaps point toward unequal educational opportunity as a potentially important contributor. This report explores the relationship between racial and socioeconomic test-score gaps in New England metropolitan areas and two factors associated with unequal opportunity in education: state equalizing ...
Reaching the goal: expanding health insurance coverage in New England: current strategies and new initiatives
As the number and percentage of people without health insurance continues to climb, the goal of expanding such coverage is even more pressing. Traditional strategies have had only limited success. And with little movement at the federal level, states have chosen to enact their own bold initiatives. Four New England states - Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont - have recently passed or implemented programs to expand health insurance coverage, some with the goal of achieving near-universal coverage. By combining different strategies from across the political spectrum, the new ...